Once Upon a Paris Table
In Monday’s Parler Paris Nouvellettre®, you may recall mentioning Laurent Queige’s new “tourism incubator” — a project given the ‘green light’ by Mayor Bertrand Delanoë to stimulate innovation within the tourism industry and support new start-ups and great ideas. In another one of those ‘synchronistic’ moments in life (that seem to happen to me on an almost daily basis), the illustrious Mr. Queige (who had sled down the slope in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont the night before on a makeshift cardboard toboggan with our friend from Chicago), surprisingly showed up at the same venue Monday evening to which I had been invited (“quelle surprise!”) — a five-course gastronomic dinner with storytelling on the Bateau Daphné http://www.bateaudaphne.com on the Seine opposite Notre Dame that “Le Foodist” calls “Once Upon a Table.”
Fred Pouillot, a French-born educated Chemical Engineer who trekked across Europe, Asia and America for 15 years, and whose hunger for a greater understanding of why people eat what they eat and do what they do, took intensive cooking classes with Alain Ducasse Formation, then joined Hautes Etudes du Goût (the High Studies of Taste) and graduated with a degree from the University of Reims in Champagne. Hence, one of those innovative ideas, the very kind Mr. Queige wants to germinate and grow, was born: Le Foodist.
Fred’s vision is to help people discover culture through food and that’s what Le Foodist is all about. Along with his gourmet restaurant-trained “sommelier” sidekick, Stéphane, a truly enlightening experience ensued! Over the course of three hours, fourteen guests, relatively unknown to each other, heard stories, saw slide shows, were served an absolutely amazing five-course meal (gourmet chef prepared), drank fabulous wines and discussed all that he was teaching…as well as laughing hilariously over Stéphane’s lighthearted sense of humor and all the quips that the guests added to the equation.
The boat rocked every time another boat sped by, particularly the police boats, as someone remarked. It was a gentle reminder we were on the Seine. Meanwhile, Stéphane tested us with a list of questions we were to answer in teams of three or four. For example, which country has the largest vineyard surface in the world?: England, Italy, Spain or France? If you answered France, like we did, you would be wrong. The answer is Spain. And do you know which country is the second most profitable for MacDonald’s? We never dreamed it was France (ahead of England, China or Brazil), but it is!
We learned about how delicacies such as the Jerusalem Artichoke came to France and why it was named that. We learned that Carpaccio is really the name of a painter who used a pigment the same color as sliced raw beef and that wine is not normally served with soup. It was truly a learning adventure in a totally delightful setting that was like no other dining experience I’d ever had…and well worth it!
Among the dining guests at the beautiful table on the Daphné, besides the City Hall’s Laurent Queige, was Atout France’s “Chargé du e-tourisme” Philippe Fabry; founder Margie Rubin of “Paris Your Way” and Charlotte Puckette, author of The Ethnic Paris Cookbook and director of “Cuisines et Traditions du Monde,” a Paris professional catering service. One gentleman from Toronto was celebrating his birthday, so we took a moment to sing “Bon Anniversaire” and at the end of the evening, Stéphane taught us how to use a saber to uncork a bottle of champagne(!), then we all toasted to the evening with Notre Dame in the background, before disembarking Le Bateau Daphné and heading home in the slushy snow.
Oh to be in Paris, on the Seine, dining so elegantly and culturally with such illustrious dining partners! Aren’t you jealous? You don’t need to be. You can do it, too. For more information, visit Le Foodist and tell Fred that Adrian sent you!
A la prochaine…
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
P.S. One of our newest Parler Paris Apartments, Le Sentier de Soie, is an artist’s creation with delightful décor and every amenity to surround you in luxury and comfort. It is located just two blocks from the famous shopping street, rue Montorgueuil (the oldest in Paris) and is one of my favorites. To book this masterpiece contact [email protected] or visit Le Sentier de Soie. (Another great apartment in the same district is coming soon: “Le Bain Noir.” Stay tuned for more information)
P.P.S. We’re filming another House Hunters International in two weeks time. If you have a large apartment in Paris, two to three bedrooms, worth about 1 million euros and would enjoy having it ‘star’ in a House Hunters International episode, please contact me immediately at [email protected]