I don’t know if you’ve heard of Masterchef, the cooking show with Gordon Ramsay…he is pretty famous for his, well, crappy attitude hahah. It’s still a pretty good show though, and the winners go on to do some pretty cool things. Annnnd, there is a French version of it! And Jean-Yves is a winner of the French Masterchef!
Jean-Yves is actually Vietnamese, which shows in his cooking…it’s a fusion between French and Vietnamese cuisine. He is a full-time architect, but cooking is his passion. He plans to switch to cooking full-time in the future. He does a private, in-home cooking on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Dinner includes a four course meal: two starters, one main, and dessert; wine included.
This was such a different experience than eating at the restaurant because you dine at the chef’s home. When you’re eating at a restaurant, you don’t know what goes on in the kitchen and what’s being done to the food. You don’t have a chance to interact with the chef to understand his purpose behind each dish either. But this meal took place in his home, where you can freely converse with the chef and watch him prepare. It’s a really cool personal experience for anyone!
Jean-Yves prepares and presents each dish with detail. He always asks if we’ve discovered any new tastes within the dish or if there were was anything we were curious about. The first dish presented was a twist to the Vietnamese hand-rolls. He included a Thai chili sauce with this local cabbage (?), and mint and cucumber. He taught us the proper way to taste the food, but we definitely failed on the first try. I guess that’s why there’s 5 rolls haha! In the end, I just saw my aunt chowing down the food without shame, so I kind of just did the same… This entrée was very light and refreshing overall. We were told to eat the roll first with the cucumber and mint, which made it very refreshing. Then, with the Thai chili sauce, it brought in a new sweet and sour taste to it, giving it a great punch to the freshness.
The second appetizer was shrimp and veal wantons immersed in sabayon sauce. The wantons were different from the typical Asian ones. To me, it was more like ravioli than wantons. But the sauce was very light, which was a great balance when accompanied with the taste of the shrimp and veal!
The main plat was duck. Prepared with butternut squash puree and a sweet and tangy balsamic sauce. The duck was well cooked and prepared. The crunch from the dish came from the fried cheese swirly-looking thing. Overall, great balance in texture.
I asked him why he wanted to switch to cooking full-time he gave me such an eloquent and eye-opening answer: “When you’re an architect and you design something for someone, your interaction with the person ends there. It’s finished after you show them the design. But with food, it’s not like that. Once you’ve tasted the food, you’ve begun a new relationship…you will want to come back, it won’t be finished.”
Definitely hope to be back again for a new experience!