Friday, June 29, 2007

Paul Bocuse et Moi

 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 to M. Bocuse requesting reference photos. And 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 4 painted jackets to wear at the luncheon. I had nothing elegant to wear so I changed my painted chef jackets 4 times 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  I took group shots 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 to 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

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Paris Par Arrondissement...

You wouldn't be here at Paris Breakfasts if you didn't...
But it can be a frustrating town to get around...
(Did you know they had to put a special coating on the Metro maps so
the oils from your fingertips don't corrode the surface?
That's why you used to see those gaping holes...)
At the same time you don't want to appear to be a tourist with your maps and guidebooks clogging up the streets do you?
Well not if you can help it :)
One of my secrets is I love to catch shots (usually blurry 'cos I'm a tad embarrassed)
of the Lost People in Paris...
But I wouldn't want to be caught dead looking at a map...

Well not if I can help it!
In New York, when I see Lost People (= visitors = guests in my town)
I march up to them and ask,
Where do you want to go?
And if they're French, I throw in a few Frenchie words and they're pleased as punch!
You can't go up to New York Lost People and ask,
Can I help you?
They will run away! Vite Vite Vite!
They'll think you want $$$! Yup it's true.
Here's a good Paris trick!
As soon as you get off the Metro at your stop,
Do not run to the exit.
Directly in front of you, should be a very nice, very large map of the surrounding area.
You can quickly find where you want to go and thus avoid the wretched street-map-reading.

Not to suggest you don't need a Paris Plan!

You absolutely do!!!

Just look for the plan that has the easiest to read maps..

PARIS JE T'AIME Did you get to see PARIS JE T'AIME?

There are 18 mini films, each one made in a different arrondissement of Paris.

I was late to see it, but I LOVED it! This was one of my favorites..

It's was a gritty and bittersweet view of Paris

and I cried buckets at the end...Why did it have to end?

What do you do when you get lost in Paris???

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Painting French Coffee Cups

For the past 3 months I've been painting coffee cups. Mainly I've been trying to figure out how to paint BLACK cups or just anything BLACK.


A mess O' coffee cups... It's why I haven't always had "a daily painting" to show you.
I've been struggling with this subject matter.

Don't get me wrong!
My subject matter is TERRIFIC!
Colorful! Geometric!
Varied in shape and size and everything an artist could wish for.
Maybe that's the problem. I got stage fright.

Many mornings I would take a "MAGIC PILL" to help me paint...
Some mornings I would take more than one And forget to paint
So far I haven't had to go to rehab
All artists will tell you one of their best skills is procrastination.

Cherry watching One of the problems is:
I'm working larger.
12 1/2" x 15" or 32 cm x 37 cm
On different paper.
And I've been experimenting with different compositions too.
It's enough to give you a heart attack!

I've done a gazillion color tests. It's one of the fun ways to procrastinate. This is my BEST black cup so far.
Now if I could just do this again. And I've been showing the various stages of progressions to just about everyone too.
Getting a gazillion opinions.
Confusing me further.

Back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fleurimont 75006

No croissants today. I'm serving up floral bouquets.
There must be just as many florists in Paris as there are patisseries. I asked Google how many and I got 7 florists in Paris,TEXAS

One nice thing is you don't have to wait on line to get served. And their flowers are out on the street,
So you can choose and even sniff before buying.
You hear that Paris pastry chefs.
Fleurimont was around the corner from my hotel on
12, rue Gregoire de Tours 75006
A sweet closet-sized shop. They were happy to wrap up my flowers anyway I wanted. They even threw in extra green leaves for FREE.
Hear that fancy Parisian patisseries.
The flowers are lush and fresh and not expensive either.
And it makes you feel just a little bit more Parisian to have a fragrant bouquet in you room.
Look, even wild flowers for sale.Here's another thing that mystifies me.
Paris Bouquets?
A bouquet (notice it's a FRENCH word) is a small cluster or arrangement of flowers.
Also meaning: The fragrance typical of a wine or liqueur.

You can find floral bouquets right and left on most street corners or order them to be delivered over the phone in Paris.
Why is it in the US you have to be dressed in white
and marching down the aisle to get a bouquet?
Another good reason to go to Paris non :)

I did not get to the Flower marche last trip but I will next time. In the meantime here's a little movie to watch. You can find more 6th arrondissement florist shops here.
Un peu de parfum demeure toujours sur la main qui te donne des roses.
(A little perfume always remains on the hand which gives you pinks.)

You are a flower

Monday, June 25, 2007


Have you been to Dalloyau, a quite traditional Parisien insititution?
(Pronounced Dall-why-o or however you like it...)
The Dalloyau family has been making gateaux, ice creams and bread for over 200 years for French royalty. I went to Luxembourg branch at 2, place Edmond-Rostand 75006
There are 7 Dalloyau boutiques around Paris
I got The Works!
*Have you noticed how the French like to drink their OJ through a straw...

Exquisite jams too. You go upstairs for petit dejeuner at Dalloyau.

There's something about a messy table...

Do take a look at Dalloyau's splendid dessert catalog.

Some Dalloyau factoids: They have 97 cooks, 100 pastry cooks, chocolate makers and confectioners, 4 ice-cream makers and 4 bakers. In a year they make 55 tons of macarons, break 1,300,000 eggs, bake 1,500,000 Viennoiseries, and create 50 tons of chocolate candies !

You often ask me about Paris restaurants...

Since I mostly exist on breakfast, pastry and salads in Paris...

I thought you might like to check out the restaurant recommendations of David Lebovitz, who not only lives in Paris full time. He actually eats dinner.
I have eaten lunch at one of David's favs, Christian Constant's Les Cocottes, 135, rue Saint-Dominique, 7th and if was formidable.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Make Believe Cafe...

Cafe day today!
And I'm sick of looking at desserts I can't have...
There are lots of little chatchkas you can bring home.
Cafe stuff for sale at the cafes...
You'll find these signature souvenirs only at posh cafes like Flore and Deux Magots.. Not the same as being there...
But you can have your own little make believe cafe in your own kitchen
I've got a cafe table and chairs in mine...
A few French sugar cubes, a cafe cup or two and a glass...
Your bottle of Vittel and you're set up!
You need the aroma of French roast coffee too...And nothing like a bit of cafe music playing in the background...
Who knew Cafe de Flore has their own music CDs?
They've kindly thought of everything for your make believe cafe recreation..
One thing I wish I'd bought.A Cafe Flore key chain as a reminder of where I'd like to be,
as I go out the door to the real world...Here the cafe boutique where you can get your cafe gear.
26, rue Saint-Benoit, 75006
Just don't go before noon
Do you have any cafe souvenirs in your kitchen?