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Sanctuary’s “Finding Francois” Lunch and Learn with Chef François de Mélogue

Posted on: July 28th, 2010 by Amy Martin No Comments

Saturday, July 17th, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain hosted the “Finding Francois” Lunch and Learn class featuring Chef François de Mélogue and winemaker, Bob Klindt of Claudia Springs Winery, the second class of the series.

A recap of the event:

The event was held in The Views, a room with just that – a breathtaking view. Before you are seated, you are greeted with a glass of champagne; a bottomless glass, that is. Each table, gorgeously set, had a dish of self-serve “popped corn with a bite”. A DJ played light, upbeat music in the background throughout the duration of the event.

At each place setting, a program outlining the events of the afternoon as well as take home recipes of each course was displayed. Fiji water was promptly poured within seconds of taking a seat and glasses were never less than half empty.

Chef Beau MacMillan kicked off the afternoon with a brief introduction and reminisced about his professional history with Chef François de Mélogue. Chef Beau remarked that while working with Chef François early in his career, he always said to himself, “If I can be half as good as this guy, I can be somebody”. Immediately following, Chef François took the stage and shared funny stories about his childhood and growing up with a passion to cook. Chef François demonstrated the second course “Provencal Sunshine”, a dish of halibut, shrimp, mussels, monkfish, rouille and garlic croutons. Guests whispered “that smells great!” as the rich aroma filled the room.

The first course, watermelon and tomato salad with pipérade sorbet and parmesan tuile, was interestingly delicious. The pipérade sorbet consisted of san marzano tomatoes, fire roasted red peppers, onion, basil and cayenne among other ingredients. The heat of the cayenne against the coolness of the frozen sorbet and freshness of the watermelon, yellow, orange and green tomatoes was refreshing and unlike any other dish most had tasted. The parmesan tuile added a needed crunch to the course. Stoneleigh Pinot Noir 2008 was paired with the salad and sorbet.

The second course was the demonstrated Provencal Sunshine. Presentation of this dish was absolutely beautiful. Halibut, shrimp, mussels, and monkfish were served in a rich, creamy sauce of garlic, Pernod, saffron, basil, thyme and other spices. The dish was topped with garlic croutons and rouille. The seafood was fresh, halibut was perfectly cooked and mussels were delicate and soft. This second course was paired with Claudia Springs Winery Pinot Gris 2009.

The third and final course was a pistachio and olive oil cake with roasted summer fruits, an unusual but delicious dessert. The cake was made with equal portions of polenta and organic flour, creating an almost cornbread-like texture against the nutty pistachios. The cake was mildly sweet enough to be a dessert without being too heavy or filling. Summer stone fruits were served atop the cake and garnished with a mint leaf and sweet fruit coulis. Casta Diva Alicante Muscat 2006 was paired with the cake; a perfect end to the afternoon.

After the meal, conversation filled the room as people enjoyed their after-meal coffee. Both Chef Beau and Chef François mingled throughout the tables, making sure everyone enjoyed the afternoon.

The 2010 Lunch and Learn series is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon. For details about upcoming classes and how to make your reservation, click here.

About the Author - Amy Martin

Author of Her Plate, Amy's love of food, cooking and all things culinary keeps her endlessly plotting what her next meal will be. Her pastimes include creating in (i.e. demolishing) her own kitchen and baking far more sweets than her tiny family could ever eat.

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