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Molecular gastronomy in Paris: Hervé This, etc.


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Mofudd.You are a lucky fellow.You are getting excellent advice at no cost to you by knowledgable and objective people and you still hesitate .As jules said its no brainer to go to P gagnaire,if you're looking for one of the best inventive cuisine in the world

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Thank you all for your advise which I have duely followed and have reservation on sunday evening...I am very very excited..I had such an amazing meal at El Bulli a few years ago, and whilst I know the styles are different, I still regard the El Bulli meal as the most exciting evening in a restaurant that I have ever had and certainly the best value for money - it has not been beaten by anywhere I have eaten in London and environs or New York, so thank you all......

will let you know how I get on!

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Quelle domage! I am afraid I had a thoroughly disappointing meal at Pierre Gagniare on Sunday evening and can barely believe it! I had high expectations, and whilst some of the dishes were perfectly executed, there were quite a few dishes that simply tasted not right, as if some junior chef had been in charge of mise en place that day and had allowed dishes to be prepared without any care at all...

Here are some I can remember - the amuse bouche - a ceviche of bream on a fricasse of mushrooms - lovely; a foam of corn - very bitter and rather nasty; mussels with roe - very good; choucroute with pototo foam - gloupy and texturally nasty.

My 'Orientale' starter included a partridge wrapped in an almond pastry on a bed of red peppers - the pastry was soggy and over sweet and more bitterness to be found in the red peppers. My starter also included a green pepper consomme with endive ice cream - lovely.

My dining companion had a starter of partridge with, I think Chevignol and rhubarb. i do not think there was anything wrong with the execution, but I am afraid neither of us understood why anyone would think the concept would work.

My dining companion had Dover sole for a main course which, rather surprisingly, was brought to her to view, already cooked, whilst we were still eating our starters. There may have been a reason for this which evaded us, but unsurprisingly, the fish tasted overcooked once it was brought again to the table to be eaten.

I had an excellent Canard, cooked perfectly, and with some lovely accompaniments, including a beetroot ice cream - but by then my faith, and appetite had all but dissappeared.

We did not even bother with cheese and dessert (usually my favourite part)

The wine list was excellent and not too overpriced for a three star restaurant so we drank well and service was correct if somewhat indifferent and so I am left thinking....

Have i missed something here ? Is there something I simply don't understand?

I suppose I use as a benchmark my experience of El Bulli, Per Se and The Fat Duck, all of which have pushed my boundaries in terms of combinations of flavours and textures. In all of these, there was first of all an infectious enthusiasm by the staff for the food they were serving and a desire to explain them - something that simply did not happen at PG (including no desire to know why much of the food had not been eaten)

Secondly, whilst I do not expect to like everything I eat and might disagree with the Chef as to whether I think dishes work or not, nonetheless I do expect to say to myself " the flavours and textures are fabulous, even if I do not agree that they work together" I also expect, at this level of dining to be saying to myself "The Chef has really captured the essence of a flavour - this is hitting me between the eyeballs" I have had this experience at the restaurants I mentioned, but at Gagniare's, all I felt, honesty, was that a Chef had not really thought through the dishes properly, or why they should be served together. It all felt incredibly amateruish!

Comments please, because i really feel as if I wasted my money..

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Comments please, because i really feel as if I wasted my money..

IT is indeed disapointing when one's experience does not match the expectation.

I have had that on quite a few occasions.ITs true that at gagnaire as at any other restaurants not every dish is a winner.however its a matter of enjoying more dishes overall.Actually last timt i ate there i did not care for some but thought others were unbeleivable in every respect.Its also important to choose in line with ones likes and dislikes.Incidetally i have always liked his canard.sometimes done in 5 different ways.

Also perhaps his style is not your thing.So any how i hope you have better luck in another resaturant in paris on your next visit.

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Pierre I mind less about liking or disliking somebody's style than thinking this was not at a three star level of excellence - too many misses in my opinion, not enough of a WOW factor. Of course restaurants have their off nights, but at this level there should be no off nights, no potential for mediocrity.

Anyway, thank you for your feedback - i am sure I shall have better luck next time!

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Comments please, because i really feel as if I wasted my money..

I had the same feeling as you two years ago on my first and probably

last visit to Gagnaire.

The kid glazed with oriental flavours and with blueberries still brings back bad memories: The kid was overcooked, no sign of oriental flavours and the blueberries were a couple of spoons of blueberry jam straight from the jar. Incredibly weird. I also remember a starter of stringy, dry and sandy snails accompanying an otherwise acceptable seafood stew. Desserts were also underwhelming with only two different straightforward soufflés to choose from. And Gagnaire was there personally ...

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Yes and both times I dined at el Bulli I ate things I didn't like - but the WOW factor on each occasion far outweighed anything else.

Of course there is some risk involved that some dishes may underwhelm, but generally we dine in restaurants to be impressed, especially at this sort of price range.

I can name many restaurants (primarily in London) where I have had brilliant meals that reflect a chef's pure talent. Sadly, I saw little evidence of this at my evening at PG...in some dishes - very good, but not outstanding or memorable

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The Lecture Room/Library at Sketch and Pierre Gagnaire Paris are a world apart in quality. At any rate, michelin have them 1 star versus 3 star, but the difference is greater than that.
Also Sketch, expecting something like chez Pierre Gagnaire, was terribly disapponting to me and not comparable at all to his restaurant in Paris.

The latter I do like very much, and I have never been disappointed. The WOW factor is indeed less present, in my view, as it is at elBulli or WD50 though.

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For me sketch was a restaurant trying to be pg. That failed miserably. Was quite concerned taking my team over after we had eaten at sketch in case we would be disappointed again. I agree wow factor is not the same as el bulli but we left full I left hungry at el bulli but feeling sickly uncomfortable after copius amounts of jellies and fatty items.

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As far as I know, the Gagnaire people don't consider Sketch a "real" gastronomic. Their words (in private).

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not sure i'd include the Transversal in that list, as their stuff seems to be a large selection of choice produce and not a whole lot of experimentation, and far more trad than , say, Inaki's place...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

blog

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Not sure i'd include the Transversal in that list, as their stuff seems to be a large selection of choice produce and not a whole lot of experimentation, and far more trad than , say, Inaki's place...

I'd agree; certainly lots of product; some deconstruction, some innovation.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I just came across this, which some of you may be interested in:

Hervé This, the chemist who is responsible for much of Gagnaire's molecular wizardry, is giving a FREE course in molecular gastronomy that is open to the general public (non-pros).

Two courses will be held (in French) on January 21 & 22 at AgroParis Tech in the 5th. Registration is required and the form and full description is available here.

I just tried to register, and will be sure to report back if I get in!

Meg Zimbeck, Paris by Mouth

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

John has already mentionned this in the digest but I thought it would be worth noting that

Thierry Marx has teamed up with chemist Jérôme Bibette for an exhibition at the newly opened Le Laboratoire, a new culture centre which combines art and science. The Bento Box menu plus entrance is 27€ but you can also just have coffee and a "whif of chocolate' and coffee for 6€.

It seems that you need to reserve:

4 rue du Bouloi

75001 PARIS

www.lelaboratoire.org

info@lelaboratoire.org

Information +33 (0)1 78 09 49 50

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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mszimbeck, ms. Clotilde and I went to a two day lecture by Herve THIS where he spoke in length about the science of cuisine. Clotilde's notes from the day are a great summary.

Herve THIS also does a monthly lecture series that is open to the public.

"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."
-EW
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  • 3 weeks later...
John has already mentionned this in the digest but I thought it would be worth noting that

Thierry Marx has teamed up with chemist Jérôme Bibette for an exhibition at the newly opened Le Laboratoire, a new culture centre which combines art and science.  The Bento Box menu plus entrance is 27€ but you can also just have coffee and a "whif of chocolate' and coffee for 6€.

It seems that you need to reserve:

4 rue du Bouloi

75001 PARIS

www.lelaboratoire.org

info@lelaboratoire.org

Information +33 (0)1 78 09 49 50

I'm wondering if anybody has tried this food event by Thierry Marx at le Laboratoire? Is it a food event or more, an art event?

I got an email some time ago from my daily art (not food!) newsletter e-flux, more info:

- 29 March - 21 July Monday - Friday (12pm - 7pm)

- 2 formules:

Menu dégustation complète - 3 steps with navets, lobsters and pear belle-hélène

Menu dégusation légère - 1 step - pear bell-hélène

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