Science

Energy sobriety seeps into fine dining – Sciences et Avenir

“One, two, three…eleven. Let’s use the fire to the fullest”: while he cooks a translucent scallop, chef Giuliano Sperandio counts the saucepans in which the sauces of his famous Parisian restaurant Taillevent boil, which should also show energy-saving ingenuity.

An Italian chef came to the stoves of this two-Michelin-starred traditional French restaurant over a year ago to modernize the plate with raw, crunchier vegetables and smaller portions.

An approach that has already contributed to the energy sobriety that is needed today everywhere in haute gastronomy. Turning off the gas at night, finishing cooking with ovens turned off, cooking smaller dishes, preferring less energy-intensive recipes, even cutting out meat: there are so many possibilities that great chefs explore.

– Luxury touched –

“Everyone has to be careful. This is not because we are in a luxurious restaurant where everything is allowed,” emphasizes Giuliano Sperandio.

Last week, a customer complained that she was cold during dinner in a light evening dress. “She was almost naked, we can get dressed a little more, knowing that we are asking everyone to make an effort,” the chef exclaims.

For him, the issue goes beyond the kitchen, even if by paying attention to his gestures, one can do better without “cutting short” to the essentials: sauces and juices that take two to six hours to prepare.

Among these gestures, let the meringues dry overnight in the switched off ovens, do not boil the water again each time – “we cook 2-3 lobsters in the same water, 3-4 ravioli” -, serve 150 grams of beef fillet versus 220 before : “Piece less, cooking faster”…

We are entering the season of the royal hare, which requires many hours of preparation. So this year, Giuliano Sperandio will give him the opportunity to cook it during the day when the stoves are heated, and not at night, as was done before.

– 7 o’clock lamb? –

Guy Martin, chef of the Grand Véfour, Paris’s oldest restaurant since 1784, overlooking the gardens of the Palais Royal, uses a different technique.

“We put the royal-style hare in the oven very hot, heat it very strongly in a casserole, fry it, turn it off. It stays in the oven off for at least 5 hours,” he explains to AFP.

The properties of the cast iron pan, which helps keep it warm, ensure that slow-cooked dishes like beef burgundy or pot au feu “never go out,” he assures.

“For a seven o’clock lamb (going to) five hours, that makes little difference” and the oven off solution “works very well.”

“We have to rethink the kitchen to find the same tastes, but not with the same processes,” Pauline Sene, a former Top Chef contestant who just opened her restaurant Arboré, tells AFP.

“My candied shoulder, I do it in three hours. I increase the temperature or simply simmer the meat against the current. I’m going to put it at 200 degrees for half an hour, lower it to 180 for an hour, and then to 160 for an hour. an hour and a half, not 90 in eight hours.”

Manon Fleury, owner of an ephemeral restaurant in Paris’ trendy Perchoir Ménilmontant district, doesn’t serve meat there.

“I propose a purely vegetable proposal. With this over-consumption of meat that we see everywhere, I am balancing the trend on my small scale,” says the chef, who has just published a cereal-based recipe book.

For her eggplant and fig dish, she marinates the eggplants with salt to make them ready in the oven in just 10 minutes. “Ripe” figs do not need to be boiled, and the pulp soaked in vinegar from their peel will serve as a sauce.

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