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Supporting Goût de France

By David Burton

Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand chef Francis Motta got behind the French government’s Goût de France promotion on March 21, appearing at the International departures lounge of the Koru Club in Auckland.

Members were wowed with assembled-to-order plates of salmon tartare, salty-sweet, orange and juniper berry-cured, garnished with lemon zest flavoured sago “caviar”, crispy sago infused with squid ink, coriander micro-greens and olive oil powder.

Aiming to promote the application of French technique to the vast range of foodstuffs in today’s globalised larder, Goût de France had restaurants cooking French cuisine up and down the country, but the place to be on March 21 was among the Limoges crockery at the French Embassy’s Residence in Thorndon, where staff from Le Cordon Bleu were treated to Hippopotamus chef Laurent Loudeac’s Trilogie de saumon, followed by Embassy chef Fabien le Gall’s black truffle-infused pot au feu. Cooked Parisian style, the poached beef fillet was still medium-rare, in a clear broth with little-used vegetables – legumes oubliés.

Le Mont d’Or mountain cheese was warmed just three minutes in the oven, then served gloriously gooey with lashings of tasty pleurote mushrooms and parsley, over wholemeal sourdough.

Helping to serve the 20 guests (a veritable who’s who of Wellington’s foodie establishment!) were Bachelor of Culinary Arts students from Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand.

Véronique Sauzeau, chef patron of Le Marché français, returned to make a guest appearance at the Residence kitchen, where previously she had been chef.  

Wine, from Pernod Ricard, included Church Road’s magnificent, aptly named Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013, from low yielding, 25-year-old vines in the red metal soils immediately to the south of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay.

Made by deliberately restraining the exuberant New World fruit to allow the French oak to shine forth, it is an exceptionally fine New Zealand Bordeaux blend, truly worthy of an Ambassade de France!