Saturday, January 20, 2018

Paul Bocuse et moi

RIP Paul Bocuse - the most generous, kind and fabulous man I ever met. 
I'm reposting today from June, 2007. Enjoy.
I found an old menu today dated June 29, 1994 from the M.O.F. luncheon Paul Bocuse gave 13 years ago in Lyon. I was a volunteer photographer at The James Beard Foundation for 7 years.
For an exhibit of chef portraits, I painted a chef's jacket to wear to the opening. Bragard, top French chef jacket makers, contacted me. They asked me to paint a 'portrait' jacket for Paul Bocuse to wear to the Chicago Food show. I wrote M. Bocuse requesting reference photos. I received an invitation to his Meilleur Ouvriers De France celebration luncheon in Lyon.
Mon dieu! The M.O.F. is the highest award in France for a craftsman.
No way I could miss this soiree.
 Off I went with Bocuse's painted jacket, a portrait painting portrait, and four jackets to wear at the luncheon. I had nothing sufficiently elegant to wear so I changed my painted chef jackets  4X in the loo instead.
M.Bocuse is a clever man. Every guest got their own M.O.F. 'ribbon' napkin ring. By the end of the luncheon every guest was wearing the MOF on their wrist, singing French songs and waving their arms in the air.

Too funny.
The menu was superb bien sur. No one in the world gives a party the way the French do.

Every French foodie person of note was at this MOF lunch. France's best cheese person, best chocolate maker, best butter maker etc. Siro Maccioni of Le Cirque and I were the only 'American' invitees. Here I'm sitting beside Jacques Maximin former chef of Hotel Negresco

I was shooting for FOOD ARTS Magazine so I took a group shot of all the top chefs.

 Bocuse was instrumental in my new career with Mumm Champagne. He was their USA spokesperson, though he speaks not one word of English. But his charm is contagious.

Mumm asked me to develope a promotional portrait program for them. I painted stacks of Mumm labels they attached to bottles as gift to their restranteurs.
After two days of partying in Lyon, I had to go back to Paris. Bocuse, ever the gracious host, asked his secretary to make me a reservation on the TGV. But I arrived late and jumped on the train sans billet/ticket.
When the conductor came by, I explained I'd been caught in traffic, but Chef Bocuse made the reservation. He paused, thought a moment and then said OK and walked on.
Only in France can you drop the name of a great chef and get a free ride from Lyon-Paris on the TGV!
Bonne 13th Anniversaire of your M.O.F. award,

Paul Bocuse et grand merci!

1995 New Year's card from Paul Bocuse

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

La Galerie Vivienne Paris map, Legrand tea tins

Yesterday I painted a Bordeaux (or it could be Burgundy...I asked and they could not tell me) tea tin from famed LEGRAND FILLES ET FILS inside GALERIE VIVIENNE, January's Paris map.
I'm probably the only customer who goes to Legrand for tea, though they have a wonderful epicerie full of classic French regional specialties.
Customers have been going since 1880 for their superb collection of French wines and you should too.
Legrand has not yet lost the Christmas spirit
And neither has the Galerie Vivienne. Hurry up. I don't know when they will take dow the lovely lights.
Another wonderous shop and there for at least 30 years is Wolff and Descourtis. Stunning chalis and cashmere stoles all fabricated in Lake Como with a decidedly Oriental flare. Fabulous. A must-see.
Of course my fav is for mainly 5-year olds, Si Tu Veux. I've been dropping in for years.
This time I met the owner, madeleine Deny. She has been there 30 years! I bought the little picnic tea set to paint last night I've been admiring it for weeks..
Do take note of the wonderful decor throughout, designed by architect François-Jean Delannoy in 1826.
The famous mosaic tiled floors were designed by G.Faccina.
They lead you right out to rue Vivienne.
Where you'll find Le Grand Colbert at No. 2, rue Vivienne. No more Noel here...triste
I went inside thinking they might sell me their signature coffee cup but they only had mugs. Quelle disappointment. Still. I was delighted to see the same tile floors as in the main galerie!
Then back out into last night's pouring rain. Not 'cats and dogs' I've been corrected but 'ropes'. Who knew? And here is January's Paris map. Thank you for reading Paris breakfast. If you like this newsletter, forward to a friend. Gift yourself and your friends Paris letters, maps and watercolors
Keep warm and dry, Carolg and Bear

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Winter Blahs

Yesterday I asked sketcher JANE KLARES FROM THE TRAIN," So when is Noel finished in Paris??
Jane giggled and said,"Ah...La fête continue!"
If you're having the Winter Blahs as M. mentioned in an email, plus sub-zero temps and the flu
Hop on a plane for some Springtime relief like we had yesterday. All Paris was out and about.
True, we're having nightly rains causing la Seine to rise up precipitously. Its raining again today.
But Sunday was glorious.
No problem when Jane asked me to join Urban Sketchers Paris draw at the Petit Palais.
Jane's watercolor of the rotunda.
And my doodle.
Jane's sketch of la Belle Epoch stairway, one of many in the Petit Palais
We sketched outside too. That's Invalides across from Pont Alexandre III
There's a lovely tropical garden inside the Petit Palais just in front of their 'Lenotre' cafe.
I pulled up a chair to draw and was surrounded by fat French sparrows.
I ran inside and grabbed a mini croissant for them to nibble on. They were rather blasé...they must get Lenotre croissants daily. Hmmm...
Today, though the rain has returned I'm trying to capture them in watercolor. How'd I do? A fun way to get rid of the Winter Blahs no?
Thank you for reading Paris breakfast. If you like this newsletter, forward to a friend. Gift yourself and your friends Paris letters, maps and watercolors

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Galette des rois researche

Every January since moving to Paris I write about the Epiphanie galette des rois. And every January I try again to paint those golden disks.
The king cake acts as an antidote to post-Christmas blues amd lasts till the end of the month.
I started this new year's research in Boulangerie Louvard, 431 rue Miromesnil 8eme
It can't hurt to begin with a previous prize winner and a neighborhood boulangerie to boot.
The almondy  aromas wafting from Paris' boulangeries in January can drive you nuts. Louvard's 'individual' galette was delightfully light, crunchy with perfect pâte d'almonde inside.
The high end couture patisseries play a different game of innovation and outlandishness. Still who doesn't love Jean-Paul Hevin's Eiffel tower couronne.
Sadaharu Aoki offers matcha and black sesame galettes.
Maison de la Truffe in Galeries Lafayette Gourmand has their galette infusing with a huge truffle under glass. Lift the dome and inhale.
Saturday morning starting at 9 am the annual La Galette du Coeur at Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres offers their top chef galettes for charity. I picked one up to take to Jane's Sunday Lunch.
Small bites for everyone
Plus galettes this year with foie gras as well as the usual almond frangipane.
Saturday night rue Montorgueil was full of galette hunters.
Maison Stohrer was mobbed
Every boulangerie had lines. "Let them eat cake"
This little tike will be tasting his first galette perhaps.
I love looking for the silly favors or feves hidden inside the galette. I found these chicken + egg in a boulangerie nearby. You can buy them individually for a mere 5€.
Louvard had tiny blackboards (ardoises). Not for sale.
At Jane's on Sunday we had two kings cakes. I met Jane on the train to Clermont-Ferrand.
She has quite a collection of feves. She is a 'fabophile'!
The white figures are antiques.
Coming home from Jane's I passed a gallery near rue Saint Paul with what looked like dancing feves on display. A perfect ending to an Epiphanie celebration. I hope you get to taste a galette des rois PBers. Thanks for reading Paris breakfast. If you like this newsletter, forward to a friend. Gift yourself and others Paris letters, maps and watercolors in your mailbox. Cheers.