June 3, 2015
French Market Cooking Class – Marché Monge Paris
Location: la cuisine, 80 Quai de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris, France
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To me France is thee epicenter of learning and applying gourmet and classic culinary technique. Like past adventures to new destinations, we researched and enrolled ourselves in a French cooking course through La Cuisine Paris. I cannot explain to you how excited I was to have the opportunity to take this class in Paris, France!
Once we found the school online, an even harder decision had to be made… What exactly did we want to learn? There was macarons, traditional breakfast pastries, classic French pastries and desserts, French gourmet dinner, a marketplace tour and cooking course, French tartes, French Baguettes and ‘Boulangerie’, Le Soufflé Déjeuner, classic French sauce, and so much more! See what I mean? Decisions, decisions. Staying true to form and our awesome experiences from past classes, we decided on the marketplace tour and cooking course.
We left our hotel and ventured to met up with our group at 9:30 AM just outside of Metro Station ‘Place Monge’ on metro line 7. We slowly started to introduce ourselves to one another; little by little new faces joined us. It was really interesting because we were such a diverse group from all over the world, very different occupations and stages in our lives, but with the same passion and desire to learn and create something new in the kitchen. About that time Chef Diane casually strolled up to our group and we could sense this was going to be an outstanding time. She had such a positive energy, a big smile, and personality that made you feel like you had been friends for years and years. This type of job was her glove and she wore it the best way possible. I think in that very moment I realized I desperately wanted her job too. It’s funny how long it can take a person to realize just how lost they might have become, how much of their creativity and life had become so gray until they get awarded these little opportunity to experience these life changing moments.
Chef Diane’s instructions were clear and she was very accommodating. She asked the group for any allergy or food aversions such as a lactose or gluten intolerance before we jumped into shopping at the Marché Monge Market. She gave plenty of individualized and group attention the entire time we were with her. She was incredibly knowledgeable about her ingredients, the marketplace, and the explaining French cuisine. She provided us with helpful little tips and advice on what to buy, what foods will pair well, as well as things you should avoid when cooking. It was awesome and we were absolutely drinking the culinary Kool-aid.
Together we shopped in the market at the produce, fromage (cheese), and butcher stands. We learned more about Frances organic food movement. In the U.S. the government labels “organic” as USDA Certified Organic, however in Europe the government labels organic products as “AB,” standing for Agricultural Biologique. France also uses labels for local agricultural shown as BioCert. She went on to explain that any thing marked organic will have at least one of these labels and MUST have at a minimum 95% organic ingredients, also no genetic modifications. Seriously?! What and why are we going around and around with food labeling in the U.S.?!
Once we left the market, we visited a nearby bakery, le Boulanger de Monge, where Chef Diane explained how France doesn’t really have a gluten problem. Again seriously?! In fact she explained that Most U.S. wheat flour contains potassium bromate to aid in the rising process. European wheat does not contain this additive. Perhaps this is a link to our gluten problems? She went on explaining that the sign out front of this bakery indicates that bakers are baking the breads daily on site and using only organic flour. This bakery was a heavenly place and of course was well-known through Chef David Lebovitz pastry app.
We departed the bakery and headed for the subway. La Cuisine Paris pre-purchased our group’s metro tickets to get back to the cooking school from the market area. A few short stops away we arrived at the school. We were immediately greeted and welcomed inside by other staff. (One of the staff was Korean and very kind reminiscing about Korean food with us. Hello again!) We were invited to sit, relax, and chat while enjoying tea and French press coffee as they prepped the workspace upstairs.
After we all finished our tea and coffee Chef Diane was ready for us to get to work. She provided us all with some of the recipes we’d be making, as well as some direction as to what each person in the class could start on. Everyone did a different task to prep for one of the three courses we were going to enjoy after we were done.
During the cooking class, our group learned some simple, yet amazingly helpful kitchen techniques, such as the best and easiest way to cut onions, safety with your knife and cutting board (how obvious it is to put a wet paper-towel under it… yet so many of us don’t think to actually do it?) We were all mesmerizing by her ability to maintain such an acute attention to detail, yet multi-task and guide us all on various cooking parts to our shared meal.
Our favorite dish to prepare and eat was the duck breast. It was just spectacular so mouth-watering and now has us searching how to get duck breast in Korea to recreate. We topped the breast with a nice sweet and tangy soy sauce. Also the toothsome salad was so simple and fresh with the incredibly flavorful French nectarine and two types of goat cheese. And for the desserts, three tiny treats of beguiling and seductiveness. Quite the luscious indulgence to complete our fantastic meal. Oh, yes you did notice that there is an “s” at the end of that (desserts)… Moelleux au chocolat, Creme Caramel, and Tuile aux Amandes done two ways, pistachio and poppy-seed. I suppose you can say we had a nice little sampler going on. You know me by now, a tad obsessive with sweets, I certainly wasn’t complaining, nor opposing.
We learned the importance of presentation and staging the plate before serving. How do you think we did?
Everything was almost ready, we patiently awaited the last dish to come out of the oven. We then individually plated our masterpieces and sat down at a big table with our group, poured wine and toasted one another, and ate every single tasty morsel! The group was almost silent relishing that meal and that very moment. I yearn to rewind time and taste the food and that moment again.
We cannot recommend the class highly enough! We had the very best time and wished we had more time to take a few more classes. We hope that this post enlightened and informed you and now when you find yourself in France, you will sign up for a class too. (If you do please let us know because we’d love to hear what you thought.)
La Cuisine Paris
ADDRESS: 80 Quai de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris, France
YELP REVIEWS: Here