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Fusion Food- Profoundly Dishonest? - Discuss


Simon Majumdar
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all Hoffman does is point out one example of how France is falling behind in cooking technique.

He fails to do so because he doesn't show he has the foundation to understand French cooking.

In this instance, even though I haven't tasted the dish Hoffman is complaining about, mu gut tells me that Pacaud had it all wrong because of the sprinkling. I've never seen curry applied to a dish.

Something needs to be explained here. What do you mean by sprinkling? I assumed it was just a derogatory reference to using a mixture of spices we call curry powder in the west. There was no sprinkling of anything on the completed dish that I recall. There was nothing cosmetic about it's use that would meet my definition of cosmetic. The spices that make up the "curry" were long infused into the sauce which was strained before it ever hit my plate. I cannot with any veracity tell you exactly what spices were used or whether they were a commercial blend or if Pacaud grinds his own blend of spices. If he's anything like I am he uses a commercial blend to which he adds spices to suit. I suspect he's nothing like I am in the kitchen. Do you know how he arrived at his blend? The words "sprinkling" and "applied" may have led you astray. I hadn't paid any attention when you used them. I was surprised when cabrales did, but perhaps your focus on these words just caught her attention before it caught mine. I have seen "fusion" chefs sprinkle a plate with curry powder. Now having said Pacaud doesn't sprinkle curry powder, I should also note that if he did, it would be a non issue with me anyway,

But here's where I find your defense of Hoffman weakest.

He went to L'Ambroisie to experience "classical" French cuisine. And when he had the hare he actually experienced it. But the captain talked him into the curry dish and he was angry about it because *to him*, that dish isn't representative of what "classic" French cuisine is about.

This is a guy with a NYC restaurant. He's the cook in that restaurant, but I don't know what he knows about food and even less about what he knows of French food. You almost make it sound as if he went to l'Ambroisie to discover "classical" French cuisine. As a result he sounds more naive that he did in Gopnik's book. Can I discover Indian cuisine by eating in an Indian restaurant? If he seriously wanted to discover "classical" French cuisine, he would have worked for six months in the kitchen. Maybe he did and I'm missing something in your representation. I don't know enough about "classical" French cuisine, but my first brush with French food was around 1960. Pacaud's dish fit my definition as well as any dish I've had. Your points lead me to believe he didn't know much about "classical" French cuisine, but traveled to France with a huge burden resulting from his lessons on curry technique

Hoffman's quote is exactly that. He wants to eat curry prepared by people who are expert in curry. Not by people who are expert in French cooking technique.

Why did he order curry. He knows how to order dinner and talk to waiters. Let this error in judgement rest and let Hoffman out from under it. I'm willing to bet his opinion may have matured by now.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Bux just for you to know, what you call Curry Powder is also mostly used only in western cooking.  Yes there are a few exceptions where Curry powder is used in Indian cooking, but those are rare.. and few.

Few if any trained Indian chef will use that horrible bottled mix. But then again, many chefs are using it and some close to successfully.

Just a clarification.. to your point above.. I wanted you to know.. Curry Powder certainly would be an ingredient more familiar to the western trained chef than an Indian one.

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While the dialogue in this thread has moved beyond the confines of Pacaud's langoustine with curry dish, I'd like to provide further support for Pacaud's not having utilized curry in order to render his cuisine contemporary.

Pacaud's langoustines with curry dish can be traced to oysters with curry that Claude Peyrot offered at Vivarois (Paris) two decades ago.  Together with La Mere Brazier (whose chicken in half mourning dish is on the L'Ambroisie menu from time to time), Peyrot was Pacaud's principal culinary mentor.  Peyrot's oysters with curry dish is chronicled in the following writings:

1) Patricia Wells, "Fine Meals for Fewer Francs" (New York Times, November 6, 1983): "After being downgraded from three to two Michelin stars this year,  Vivarois appears to be on the upturn. Claude Peyrot's menu includes a small but solid selection: *warm  oysters  in a light  curry  sauce*, coq au vin or kidneys served with a variety of mustards, . . . ."

2) Patricia Wells, "The Galaxy of Three Stars in Paris" (New York Times, September 19, 1982) "The chef-owner, Claude Peyrot, is a disciple of the late Fernand Point . . . To dine at  Vivarois  is to understand what Point was after: Contemporary French food must be linked to the classics, but the overall effect should be light. . . . . The best dishes sampled included a platter of *warm  oysters  on a bed of spinach, afloat in a lightly  curried  sauce,* and bavaroise de poivrons, a light, bright and creamy dish that blends red peppers, cream and a touch of gelatin. . . ." [Note also use of red peppers, just like those in Pacaud's red pepper mousse]

Wells' article confirms Peyrot had the curry oyster dish since at least 1982. The langoustines dish at Pacaud is (at least sometimes) served on a bed of spinach that sits above the curried sauce.  A leap from oysters in a curry sauce with spinach to langoustines in a curry sauce with sesame wafer and spinach is not a heft one.  

3) http://www.europeguidebook.com/france....s16.cfm

("This modern gem is a creation of chef Claude Peyrot. . . . Try his justly famous hot *curried oysters*.")

4) Nicolas de Rabaudy, "Magie des Grands Restaurants d'Europe" (or similar title): In a chapter on Pacaud, this author refers to the chef's drawing inspiration for the use of curry from Peyrot's curried oyster dish.  :wink:

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  • 1 year later...

Fusion confusion Fusion, why not allow todays chefs to do it, give us the room to highlight the new styles by saying that yes there are more tools available to use in the culinary world today, use them for the best applications, rate each individual better than other rather than putting down the wondeful world of confused fusion cuisine. the world will be a very different place in time to come.

Edited by M65 (log)

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux

makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." Brillat-Savarin

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Fusion confusion Fusion, why not allow todays chefs to do it, give us the room to highlight the new styles by saying that yeas there are more tools available to use in the culinary world today, use them for the best applications, rate each individual better than other rather than putting down the wondefuld of confused fusion cuisine. the world will be a very different place in time to come.

I think you are right about treating each individual as they come. It is always bad to sum up a group of people together and then issue a blanket statement.

There are many that are confused by the fused foods... but certainly as time gives us room to grow, th fused will grow, evolve to newer heights, newer tastes, and new pairings, and what that holds for the now confused, is not for any of us to know.

Que sara sara... whatever will be, will be....

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  • 2 months later...

I was all set to start off on "FUSION COOKING" thank the lord I did not.

I do however like creating fusion meals. Marrying dishes from different cuisines into a meal is interesting.

I also like creating or modifying dishes.

I collect exotic ingrediants from around the world and then combine them, have had a lot of disasters but many successes to.

Best ever - Sesame honey chicken with Iranian Dried Cranberries and Kala Nimbu. Still have some of both of those so anyone Bombay side interested in sampling it lemme know and we could have a cookup....

Biggest disaster Chilli with South African Bill Tong - They all ate a bit for politenesses sake and then I caught them flushng it down the Loo!!! My husband and I still laugh over that.

Rushina

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Biggest disaster Chilli with South African Bill Tong - They all ate a bit for politenesses sake and then I caught them flushng it down the Loo!!! My husband and I still laugh over that.

Rushina

My dog will love you if you make the chilli with bill tong. Mention the word bill tong and she will be your slave.

We get ours from Zimwabe and its usually ' phumba' which is like a wild boar and we prefer both the garlic and spicy versions. One batch was too smelly so we started feeding the dog as a treat and she is addicted.

Did you ever enquire whatr your guests did not like? the smell or the texture?

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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I think it was the entire thing. I have never managed to get the Husband to eat Bil tong again! Do have a friend that loves it though.

When I was in Singapore I had sampled a dried Chinese sausage. It is quite long and I cant recall wether it was te packet that was red or the sausage but it was delicious, if you like Bill Tong you might like that. Unfortunatley dont have the moment but will try to get it for you f yu want.

Rushina

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