Le Espadon: A Celebration
Le Espadon is the two Michelin starred dining room of the five star Ritz Hotel in Paris. Now you would expect that so many stars would go to people’s heads. The staff and head chef of this establishment turn your expectations on their head. The Maitre dé was a fascinating and relaxed gentleman, he was so insightful, telling us fascinating stories of how this famous hotel has literally shaped history and retained its glamour as every object and the entire experience has been in turn shaped and influenced by its famous guests – Coco Chanel herself asked for the gold and brass bag holders on the chairs.
The head chef, Michel Roth, MOF, has won so many awards and runs a tough kitchen that produces the best food, as such you would rightfully expect an egotistical task master that is egotistical, abusive and demanding, the truth is the exact opposite. From day one, without knowing any of us he has always stopped us in the corridors of the basement to say hello and see how school has been going, he always has a smile on his face, he is extremely friendly and in no way is a huge ego visible on the surface, my guess is he is simply full of pride and a love of good food.
We all ran to the change rooms from class in our dirty chefs whites and came forth looking spick and span dressed in suits and dresses we walked excitedly upstairs for our celebratory meal.
Walking through the doors of this resplendent salon we were greeted with a stunning room with brocade curtains and clouds on the roof a different environment to what we were used to.
We started with tomato and basil and olive puff fingers and an assortment of glorious breads – including pepper and olive.
The Amuse-Bouche was a trio of taste sensations starting with a green zebra tomato gazpacho with a cherry tomato filled with mozzarella, followed by ginger and orange emulsion with salmon filled with a vanilla cream, and finally a very fine filo pastry filled with spiced honey pecans.
All of which was thoroughly enjoyed with a great glass of Viognier from France of course.
was either durade roti with tempura vegetables, basil oil and a fresh tomato gazpacho, or crab salad with avocado and citrus and we continued to enjoy the viognier.
Main course was tandoori fillet of sea bass with zucchini its flowers and a mushroom emulsion or the equally interesting roast duck with a galette of roast peaches and a filo package filled with almost melting preserved duck neck.
The more meaty main course was paired with a full bodied fruity cabernet sauvignon merlot from the Medoc appellation.
Who could forget dessert for a group of Pastry students, clearly not the Pastry team for Le Espadon.
Moelleux Chocolat, a soft rich chocolate cake was topped with a thin layer of griotte cherry glaze and two quenelle of a tart griotte sorbet and a smooth vanilla bean ice-cream and a shard of crystalline sugar.
The sweet caramelised apricots paired with apricot glaze, lemon clouds, a confit apricot sauce and vanilla bean ice-cream.
This was all enjoyed with a glass of the Ritz champagne.
Petit fours and coffee rounded out the meal nicely and we were all in a happy food and wine coma. The tier of Salted Butter Caramel Macarons, Orange Blossom Crème Réglisses and Lemon Sablés was enjoyed with a cup of subtle french coffee.
Our chef was invited for the first time to join the students at the lunch and we also had the pleasure of being welcomed at the end of our meal by a special visitor the head chef, Michel Roth.