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Chez L'Epicier


docsconz
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But isn't Michel Bras's "Biscuit de chocolat coulant" (whatever year's version we are talking about) comprised of a properly cooked chocolat "biscuit" that, when broken, let's escape a liquid chocolate ganache (wich is flavored any way he chooses).

I quote:"Ce biscuit au chocolat moelleux enserre un noyau de chocolat coulant...Les carnets de Michel Bras p.116"

Nowhere does he mention the notion of "mi-cuit" or half cooked. The "mi-cuit" becomes a totally different dessert creature.

Michel

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Yes. That is my understanding of Michel Bras; recipe too. That is in fact what I wanted to key on in my previous post. Michel Bras' Biscuit is very different from the mi-cuit fondant that may be attributed to Jean-Georges. It seems to me that two similar results came from two different methods. To answer my own question, I do not believe that one "stole" from the other. I feel that the use of such a different technique is enough to distinguish one dish from the other, while acknowledging as a matter of history the path this dish took.

For what it's worth...

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Yeah we are splitting hairs here. But I know a terrific chef who worked for Bras who says everyone one goes around stealing his ideas and taking credit for them.

Mi-cuit and coulant kind of mean the same thing to me. The technique may be different but the result is basically the same. I would think, though, that the ganache cube is the more reliable technique of the two.

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Several Chefs I have worked with in the past told me that once an item is put on a menu, any claim of ownership is void. That's why in their words, they were only as good as what they were working on at the time, because anything they had served previously was for anyone to take.

Edited by chopper (log)

Michel

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry, I just noticed this thread and my comments on the restaurant are probably outdated within the context of the current conversation. Nevertheless..... towards the end of 2002, I played out a stage from my culinary school at Chez L'epicier. Having barely any experience with French cuisine or much fine dining in general, it was a bit difficult to relate to all the food heading out of the kitchen. One might consider that odd coming from an individual studying cooking, however, my concentration for some reason has always evolved out of far east and south asian cuisine. I only spent a few weeks in the restaurant but it was quite an interesting time. People seem to have opposing ideas of what a Chef like Laurent probably does within the kitchen. throughout all of December, he was always there once a day. Most of the time he'd be in and out, talking to some of the other kitchen staff and organizing certain deliveries for the sous-chef. Very often (perhaps even twice a week) he was involved with bringing in some new dishware purchases; some of the most interesting designs I've ever seen. During the odd lunch or dinner service (especially on a weekend) he'd be there doing the cooking next to the regulars. I am not trying to 'expose' anything here. This all just served to constantly amaze me. Whatever creations in flavours or plate presentation he had already designed appeared to be well-imprinted in each of the kitchen staffs' memories. These people were machines; in the good sense of the word. In fact, for the first week it was actually very difficult for me to determine the amount of patrons from the kitchen's view. Granted I was not doing to much beyond prep in that short time, but I honestly had the impression that maybe five to ten people had shown up throughout the lunch service. In reality the restaurant was fairly busy, yet this kitchen seemed far off from the vision that I had in my mind. Not loud, not claustrophobic, barely even hot. Things just worked, and it looked like it didn't take much to do that either.

Anyhow, with regards to my constant amazement with the plates going out of the kitchen, nearly everything impressed me. The far greater majority of them only being appealing by eye; obviously tasting was not an option for each item. What I was never able to understand was the simplicity of each recipe lending itself to create a full $50+ meal. I can comprehend the cost of the ingredients, and the often lovely or at least very interesting presentation, but it never felt like that much special preparations or odd seasonings had gone into the creation of each dish. As I mentioned before, I do not have much experience with French cuisine, but I would love for someone to explain a few of these ideas to me. Just in case this tiny inversed review comes across as a little convoluted with my main thoughts even more incomprehensible, here's a summary of my current opinion:

1. The food is always put together in a clean and efficient fashion

2. The food always leaves looking consistent - usually quite unbelievable in plate design too

3. Dishes and especially appetizers are incredibly innovative, exhibiting a flair for Asian influences

4. The kitchen staff are amazing and the ideal supporters to a great chef

5. The apparent simplicity for food preparation shocked me. The variety of spices and general flavouring ingredients beyond garlic, salt and pepper appeared extremely limited and barely noticeable during the cooking process.

This is getting too long and I can't think what else I had originally wanted to say. Overall, I was very impressed with what I saw. However, I simply do not understand it enough. That hopefully makes sense. Maybe I didn't get to see the right things while I was there. Maybe I am looking for the wrong elements altogether.

Joel

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Thanks for that jokhm and if I haven't already welcomed you, welcome to eGullet! :smile:

I think Godbout is getting better every year. He's a proud guy, which can work against him at times, but his food and restaurant speak for themselves. So kudos to him for that.

He just got trounced by a French reviewer, which I think was off-base, considering all the work he's put into that place. And he's kept a strong customer base. People are still talking about Chez L'Epicier so as the French say, chapeau!

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It's frightening to see how a restaurant can be praised and flogged within a few months, with two of the city's respected restaurant reviewers at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Food for thought I guess...

Michel

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Yes interesting, and puzzling most for the reviewers. But in Montreal if you talk to the reviewers you'll see we all have quite different priorities.

I read some reviews -- good or bad -- and just fall off my chair, as I'm sure the others do as well.

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