Let me preface this post by saying that this is the first time I have eaten at an establishment of fine dining. I also purposely didn’t take pictures of the food because I feel pictures disturb my ability to engage completely in experiences.
While in Paris I wanted to go and eat at a few “fine dining” restaurants. As i didn’t really know where to go, I asked a friend of mine Paul by saying “I want to go to atelier robuchon what do you think?”. He responded saying “why…? Go to Pierre Gagniere or something”. The problem was I waited too long and was out of cash by the time I was able to go. Now that I am in Dubai and the opportunity presented itself, bah oui I chose Pierre Gagniere.
Now to the food.
Wow! I almost wanted to cry. I believe it’s called a foodgasm?
It indeed was a journey. I got the 7 course tasting menu. There was also the amuse, mignardise and some tricks in between. 5 main things stuck out:
a) I actually liked guacamole for the first time
b) There was a parmesan cream that was smoother than cream. It made no sense.
c) For the first time foie gras didn’t make me want to gag.
d) Butter is an amazing vehicle for flavor. There was a salted butter with the consistency of cream cheese, citrus butter and coffee butter.
e) I think I had the best bread of my life. It had 3 or 4 kinds of nuts and some fruits. On top of that, it was sliced and toasted till crunchy but not dry.
Previously I talked about not having strong feelings towards food. I now withdraw that statement completely. I now love and respect well executed food that is not afraid to embrace bold flavor.
Now for sure I know I want to make food at this level. Although I was eating, it was a performance at the same time. Everything was well timed. My steps were anticipated and cared for. It’s like the servers were in my mind.
For the first time, I was introduced to a real amuse bouche and mignardise in context. They were little surprises of the palette that made me smile.
The whole meal had a flow. Nothing overpowered anything. I reized everything can taste good if its paired with the right thing. I have finally met an experience that I was unable to fault. It is quite odd. I must learn now to do this.
I love strong simple flavors. The kind of flavor that overwhelmes the palette and dulls quickly. There was this lemon jelly that highlighted this realization for me. I will actually remember this flavor for a while. When I mention foods I don’t like, it is mainly because the flavors are not strong and isolated enough.
Feelings right after
I’m sad the experience is over. For the first time I am sad that there is no more food to eat. Although I didn’t want to come to this place in the beginning I am overjoyed that I did. The experience has helped me solidify my decision to work in the kitchen. I honestly can not wait for the day till am able to do something like this.
The day after…
After waking up I reflected on the experience and realized I disliked the experience. I loved the idea but it was too overdone for me. Throughout I felt like I was forcing myself to act a certain way to fit into it. It didn’t feel natural.
Why do I have to use different cutlery for each plate? Why must the waiter hover me and attend to my every need?
I realized I like more communal experiences. It would have been nice to walk over to the fridge to get water or ask the chef there and then what was in the lemon gelée. I feel like there was too much implied etiquette involved. Perhaps I should have watched a video about fine dining etiquette. I already feel like a fish out of water alive and then I felt further alienated eating in that setting.
How can one make raw fine dining?