Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joyeux Noël!

Merry Christmas to all around the world!

*Plaza Athénée's bûche for 2010 - layers of strawberry jam and violet/vanilla cream between thin layers of biscuit, atop an almond nougatine base

Thursday, December 23, 2010

soupe à l'oignon

Soupe à l'oignon. French Onion Soup. Cheese. Onions. Bread. Salty broth. More cheese. Deliciousness to warm you up during a chilly Paris winter day.

Need I say more?

You, too, can partake in this tummy-warming experience at:
Au Pied de Cochon
6 rue Coquillière, 75001 PARIS

Rungis Market

Did you know that the Marché International de Rungis (Rungis Internaional Market) is the largest wholesale food market in the world? And that in order to visit, you're required to make an appointment or have some contacts within? And visiting hours start at something like 5am?

Well, once I heard about it at school, I knew I wanted to go and take a look... but unfortunately school couldn't organize a trip. Because of its location deep in the suburbs of Paris and the fact that it was only open to professionals (or something along those lines... appointment was required, at the least), I realized I'd have to forego this experience until next time... next time, meaning my internship at Plaza!

Some of the chefs organized the trip, which began with all of us meeting down at the lab at 01h00! We took 2 taxis and though we got there by 1h30, we didn't start the tour until about 02h00. It was pretty cold, but I think my multiple layers, sweatshirt, down vest, and jacket helped... not to mention my wool tights, leggings, long underwear, and 2 pairs of thick socks.

We started with the fish market:

this is where they sorted out/fileted the fish for restaurants

cannot believe these guys start around 10pm... see how many layers they're wearing? It was freezing!

look how big this flounder is!

The dudes on the field trip... apparently the flounder was quite the attraction. Don't you love our plastic gowns?

What's in the box??

Can you say Big Tuna?

European vs. American lobsters

the filet-ers

We actually had to drive to this "wholesale" part of the fish market!

fish for sale!

this one's going to fly away


better stay away from this one!

We then headed over to the flower market:

And then drove over to the fruits/veggies market, where they packaged orders for hotels/restaurants/etc:

trucks getting packed up to make deliveries
05h00: all the orders organized according to destination

06h00: the same room, an hour later. All the orders packed in the trucks ready to head to their destinations

the rooms for storing the produce were a lot more bare than I had imagined... this was the tomato room, as you can tell from the large photo on the wall

we then headed to the apple room

the dudettes from lab... yup, there are only 3 of us!

the clementine sudachi is a hybrid!

the exotic fruits room

Then we moved on over to the veggies market:

And then we finally finished by driving to the "wholesale" fruits/veggies market:

The time's posted, just as a reminder of how early it still is.

We got back to Plaza around 07h00, and while I didn't have to work that morning, unfortunately 7 of the 10 of us had to change into their uniforms and face a full day in the lab... don't know how they did it!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Les Galerie des Gobelins - Salon de Thé

I wish I was able to take more photos at work, and I think I'm allowed to, however, with all the hustle and bustle going on, I dare not. I mean, sure, I can go into the walk-in fridge and snap some shots, but everyone knows the lighting just isn't good and if someone comes in, it just kind of looks strange... if you know what I mean.

Anyway, everyday, one of us from the pâtisserie centrale has to prepare the chariot for tea time in the Galerie des Gobelins around 15h. Sometimes I'm given this task, and that's fine, however, the time to add the finishing touches to the desserts can be a disruption to the rest of my work. I hate being rushed, especially when it comes to presentation. Fortunately, one particular day when I had time to breathe, I remembered to get my camera and take advantage of this opportunity. Here is the selection of desserts for the Autumn/Winter 2010 collection:

Restaurant - La Galerie des Gobelins - Plaza Athénée
Les Galeries des Gobelins (photo courtesy of

the chariot for the Salon de Thé aux Galerie des Gobelins

in the background, there's the traditional millefeuille, while in the foreground, we have a tarte passion-framboise (biscuit, raspberry jam, and passionfruit/banana cream, all layered on a thin sablé crust)

Zuccotto: a biscuit with layers of caramel and café mousse on top. One of the best, I think.

Poire d'érable: maple syrup bavaroise with a pear purée filling, atop a pear-filled financier

Red Power: Soho litchi chantilly with a strawberry bavaroise/strawberry jam insert, resting on a strawberry filled financier

Mont Blanc: a ball of chestnut bavaroise filled with a mini baba au rhum, coated with vanilla whipped cream and dotted with meringues

Religieuse au caramel salé: pâte à choux filled with salted caramel pastry cream

selection of cakes: lemon, marble, and fruit... with "American" chocolate chip cookies on the right.

Friday, December 10, 2010

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

It's finally winter here in Paris, and after a week of temps in the mid-20s during the day, it actually snowed on Wednesday! Apparently it was a record snowfall since 1987.


0°C! I guess that's cold enough for it to snow, huh?

Even some of the buses had pertubations and were eventually shut down due to intempéries (bad weather) for the day.

I guess you could take a Velib instead?


I think going to school in Maine helped me deal with this a little bit, but I think I'm a true southern Californian at heart. Definitely warmed up with the help of a little stand attached to Le Comptoir at Odeon:

a buckwheat crêpe with ham, artichokes, mozzarella, marinated red peppers, and roquette salad

can you say anything but yum??

a few bites of plain crêpe can't hurt anyone before digging in...

...digging into this delicious goodness! Yup, you definitely saw me sit on the bus stop "waiting for the bus that would never come" just so I could enjoy my lunch during the snowy blizzard.