I got a phone call late last week asking if I'd be interested in doing a breakfast. It would be for about 12 people. A sit-down. I said yes. We settled on a simple menu. A day later, the twelve people turned into six who would "trickle in" instead of dining together. And then a 2nd cuisinier (cook) was added to help do coffee and such. So my motivation went from OK to low in the course of a few days that this thing evolved. Finally, the day of the event....it turned out to be a very slow trickle....of just 3 people. However, one of the three was Michel Roth! Suddenly, all the mise-en-place became somehow worthwhile.
Michel Roth is the chef at L'Espadon, the restaurant gastronomique of the l'Hôtel Ritz, and with Monday's release of the 2009 Michelin Guide, his two-star status was officially announced. I still hold a high regard for those who have achieved the Michelin mark, despite some of the controversy that surrounds the Guide. I was pleased to meet Chef Roth (as brief as it was) and even more pleased to prepare something for him to taste. He arrived around 10:30am, much too late for breakfast, and yet he still kindly sampled my "oeuf poché façon Bragance, mediterannée" (poched egg in a half-tomato with a ratatouille). Me simply bringing it out to him with a "voila" might have had something to do with this! Guess what. He said he liked it! It pleased me to hear such words from a two-star chef. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy, and that's probably all it is, but still, it's not everyday that a chef etoilée samples your food. Pretty cool.
Somebody please remind me next time to take a picture of the chef! Even if the encounter is brief. I'll have to get some advice from Ulla on how to do this better...