Chef's Table @ La Maison
---By Stephan Translated
by Monica Lin
130, SihWei 3rd Rd., Lingya District, Kaohsiung City;
Hours:6 pm-11 pm (closed Monday)
As a fledgling chef, Vincent cut his
teeth on international food preparation in the large
hotel chains, learning the basics of French Continental
cuisine from mainland Chinese and Swiss chefs. For three
years he lived and studied authentic cuisine in France,
completing 15 courses at in Paris and holding stagier
positions in many regional restaurants of France. Like
most chefs from the French tradition, Chef Vincent believes
in using only the best produce of the region, based
on seasonality. A menu should not be written until the
produce available has been examined and tasted, and
even then a menu must evolve to reflect the changes
in availability and quality. Therefore, a cook's best
bet is simply to visit the local markets; look at the
food, ask the producer questions, and taste their produce.
Allow the freshness of the seasonal ingredients to inspire
your dish, rather than working within the confined borders
of a recipe. I requested that Chef Vincent put these
theories to use and write recipes especially for our
readers. He thought hard about the logistics of the
average Taiwanese kitchen and created a recipe based
on his daily trips to the market place. The following
soup recipe is a wonderful accompaniment to a cold winter
day, and the Skewer of Shrimp Diana Style was made with
seafood so fresh it popped in my mouth. It was rounded
out with a basic tomato sauce made from this season's
sweetest, reddest tomatoes.
Chef Vincent concedes that La Maison
is not in everyone's budget, but he encourages you to
treat yourself to a once-a-year authentic, French dining
experience. I, for one, agree.
Vegetable Soup with Bordeaux Reduction
-1/4 butternut squash (pumpkin)
-1 stick of celery
-800cc chicken stock
-red wine reduction
-extra virgin olive oil
-basil (torn) or parsley
Cut the vegetables into shards, then
add herbs and chicken stock. Boil until very tender,
Strain the mash through a semi-fine sieve into a pan.
Add the cream and milk and heat gently, stirring constantly.
When serving, adorn with red wine reduction, olive oil,
paprika, croutons and some freshly torn basil.