My Parisian Restaurant Map

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Michelin Starred High-School Chefs

While reading my usual 'Direct Matin' on the metro on the way to work this morning, I noticed a little article that caught my eye. 

"20 school chefs have spent the day today learning different recipes from Guy Martin."

 They mastered everything from chicken burgers with comte cheese to an apple concassee with a Carambar caramel reduction. (Carambars are the French equivalent of tootsie rolls....although I don't think you'd necessarily want to melt a tootsie roll-it would probably ignite instead.) Now where I come from, we don't use the word 'school' or 'chef' in the same sentence. It just doesn't make any sense. For me, the school cook, aka the lunchlady, was a woman who wore a hair net and served me chicken nuggets with a side of tater tots and a carton of chocolate milk. But in Paris, or Val-d'Oise specifically, high school cooks used to work for Michelin starred restaurants. 

This initiative is part of a campaign called 'Our Schools Have Taste', which aims to introduce more sophisticated yet regional and seasonal delicacies that children may not usually be accustomed to, like vegetable bruschetta or mushrooms from Mery. The schools chefs trained under Guy Martin this morning in his atelier in Miromesnil, and will then return to their schools to spice up the menus. 

But were the chefs nervous about working with the Guy Martin? Nope, one of them had already cooked for Joel Robuchon once. Of course. 

Now I don't know about you but I find this story entirely absurd! The idea that a chef who once personally served Robuchon would then go and work in a high school cafeteria in Val-d'Oise (in the middle of bumfuck nowhere from the Parisian perspective) is just absurd. Absolutely absurd. 

It really makes me want to start a tasting tour of cafeteria food, because apparently thats where all the good chefs go to die.