As a Francophile, everything French is a delight to me. What more if it is French cuisine? Thinking of those rich stews, cheeses, fancy wines and a list of menu you can hardly pronounce but still want to try. French cooking might appear complex to us but during the Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite Series I attended, French and Mediterranean cuisine extraordinaire, Chef Xavier Btesh, proves otherwise.
Did you know that French cooking, its basic, can easily be done in the Filipino home as revealed by Chef Xavier?
During his Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite session, Chef Xavier shared how French dishes have a lot of similarities with Filipino food. In the same way that we have “adobo,” the French have their own version as well. Just switch the vinegar with wine and there you’ll have a French chicken stew.
Staying in the country for over five years now and falling in love with the country and the people who have welcomed him with open arms, he pays tribute by sharing valuable knowledge and his cooking legacy with his newest cookbook, French Kusina. With this new book, Chef Xavier teaches you how to infuse French techniques and styles into dishes that you can easily create at home using local ingredients.
For the Culinary Elite Series, Chef Xavier demonstrates various French-style dishes from his cookbook. He starts with the traditional Marseille Seafood Soup, and the hearty Salad Nicoise. Beef Bourguinon, Milanese Risotto, San Remo Pasta Carbonara make up the main dishes and a dessert of Chocolate Mousse completes the menu.
Chef Xavier Btesh likened the process of making Beef Bourguinon to making adobo—basically stewing the meat in a flavorful sauce.
|Simple but classic: the Salad Nicoise|
|The delicious Milanese Risotto. Chef Xavier Btesh may have been born and raised in Paris, but he is half Italian, which is why he knows the cuisine very well.|
|A deliciously dense serving of Chocolate Mousse to finish off the meal.|
|An authentic carbonara doesn’t have cream—it only uses eggs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper!|
These are recipes which also allow you to add your own personal flavors to each dish. “I think recipes should be whatever floats your boat,” he says. “Food is craftwork that you share and pass-on; and each of us can do it his own way.”
Whether you’re a chef, a foodie or a home cook, Chef Xavier will always tell you to “cook with your heart,” and think about the people you are cooking for. “Don’t mix too much stuff to begin with, because the more you mix, the trickier it gets to play with flavors and ingredients. Keep it simple,” he says. “And don’t be scared. I truly, truly believe there is no bad chef.”
We have a learned a lot from Chef Xavier during the Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite Series. We now know that French cooking isn’t really that complicated and we can tweak it with our personal touch. Moreover, with his tips and our motivation we can cook like an expert that Chef Xavier is.
For more information on this and on other course offerings, log on to www.themayakitchen.com, email email@example.com, or visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City. You may also call us 8921185 or 892-5011 local 108 or +63929 679 6102.
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