I’m trying not to forget all the wonderful insight that I had while I was in Paris. I am definitely keeping the culinary dream alive with the French cuisine course that I’m taking at George Brown College and the two books I’m currently reading – “The Making of a Chef” by Michael Ruhlman and “Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down” by Rosecrans Baldwin. The Making of a Chef is a personal biography by writer/cookbook author Michael Ruhlman who signed up at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) do to research for a book which later lead him to co-authoring the famous French Laundry Cookbook with Thomas Keller. A number of other books followed including “The Soul of a Chef”, “Ratio” (which I plan to buy), “Ruhlman’s Twenty” (which I have read) and the “Making of a Chef” which I am reading now.
“Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down” is a book that I heard of from David Lebovitz’s blog (my virtual Paris correspondent). It’s about an American ex-pat who moved to Paris for a year for work and who arrives loving Paris but upon his stay there is faced with frustrations of the realities of living and working there. I have to admit that I have a very romanticized perception of Paris. I was only there for two weeks and I had enough ‘tourist french’ to get by while I was there. But living and working there for a whole year would be a whole other level.
I know that I can’t compare George Brown to the CIA or Cordon Bleu but these books do compliment my cooking classes – I’m glad to see I’m not the only one that finds cauliflower polonaise to be totally old-school french. There is a mention of this dish in “The Making of a Chef” that I can truly appreciate. The book also has me thinking about bread in a whole new way. I might just take a break from the cooking and sign up for a bread course (on the baking side) in the fall or winter. I did manage to make choux pastry and cheese puffs (gougères) this week. And this time my choux pastry didn’t collapse! Nothing like making traditional French dishes while keeping it real in my Toronto kitchen!