LOVE MORE NOT JUST EATING

Random thoughts about work, food, chefs and Michelin stars

04/09/2019

During the past year, we have done many interesting projects, learned a lot of new knowledge. Near the end of the year, to sum up, perhaps the project of images producing for the restaurant L’escale by Thierry Drapeau has left me with the most emotion.

Fresh tomato and vegetable tart, pickled onions with rose fragrance.

L’escale by Thierry Drapeau was a fine dining restaurant that had just opened in District 2. The restaurant was simple but luxurious, with a maximum of 24 seats, serving 1 group of visitor every afternoon and evening. A fine dining meal is of course not cheap, but compared to many other high-end restaurants, the price was quite reasonable (about 2-3 million/ person). Each course (dish) was cleverly arranged with moderate portions to help customers eat just enough, especially Asians with small bodies.

Smoked black pork (with straw), cherry potato wrapped in salt, crushed pork leg.

Why did L’escale leave a strong impression on me? This was not only the job of filming dishes or the chance to meet famous chefs. Through this work, we enjoyed the artworks created by the hands of a dedicated chef, seeing first hand how the dishes were prepared and elaborately decorated. Moreover, it was important to learn from the chef, Thierry Drapeau and his colleagues the working style of dedication and professionalism.

Mr. Thierry Drapeau – a French chef, born at Nantes in Loire-Atlantique, has been passionate about cooking since he was young thanks to his father. He took small steps, experienced many ups and downs. Until 2011, he received the prestigious award of 2 Michelin stars. At the suggestion of a French friend – the owner of a New York Steak House, who has many years of experience in the restaurant industry, in 2012, Thierry decided to go to Vietnam to open L’escale by Thierry Drapeau. Thierry has a predestined relationship with Vietnam and has recently married a Vietnamese wife. Perhaps love will help him to flourish in his  work that requires much effort and creativity.

O.mykiss (a type of salmon) in olive oil, Choron sauce, Maxime potato, apple and crushed capers.

Mr. Thierry is a quiet man, so every time he cooks, he doesn’t seem to mind anything else, but he focuses all his attention and affection on the food. So are the French chefs who work with him. We – culinary enthusiasts – could only say the word “admire” when looking at the chefs with an extremely serious look on each dish in the hot kitchen. Every move was extremely cared for. When a dish was finished, everyone immediately cleaned up their work area. I swear, I’ve been working in hospitality for a while, going in and out of many small-scale kitchens, but except for open kitchens, I’ve never stepped into such a clean, glossy kitchen like L’escale’s kitchen. This did not only expresses the professional manner, civilized consciousness of each chef, but also show their appreciation for the job.

Happy mouth.

In fact, before that, I mistook “Michelin” as a title for a chef, and introduced everyone to L’escale as a Michelin 2 star restaurant. But actually, after a friend commented on the page, and I reconfirmed only I knew that Michelin was only for restaurants. That is, only when the appraiser goes to a restaurant to enjoy and dedicate stars, that restaurant can be called a Michelin star restaurant. And the chef who used to work at a Michelin-star restaurant, when leaving, couldn’t bring that star to the new restaurant.

Anchovy marinated with saffron, citronella broth and basil, smashed potato.

However, in the world, this is still in the unending debate of the culinary world. Some people think that a good team is needed to create a good restaurant, so this title is not reserved for anyone. Another said that the restaurant needs a good chef to lead to be able to create delicious food. I am inclined to second opinion. As in Mr. Thierry’s case, many of the restaurants he used to work in had access to the Michelin Guide, and the dishes he created every day were still adhering to such rigorous standards and such quality. In addition, when I saw with my own eyes how he worked with all the passion and devotion, I believed that he deserved to hold the star as a reward for his own hard work.

Pan-fried scallop with jasmine, carrot, black garlic, rice cream and coconut cream.

Cold honey nougat, mango jam, Da Lat yogurt sobert.

What I learn is that no matter what you do, your passion and dedication really make your level. And does it still matter whether you are recognized, or how to recognize it?

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