Pierre Gagnaire at the 70th Cannes Film Festival
13 July 2017
Cuisine Meets Cinema as One French Pioneer Pays Homage to Another
Back in May, all eyes were once again on Cannes; as the 70th edition of its fabled Film Festival arrived on the crimson carpet of the Palais des Festivals. As ever, the silver screen elite were the focus of many a lens. Though away from the lights, cameras and action; a more flavoursome film experience was taking place - as Hollywood stars gave way to those of a Michelin variety.
For the last four years, Nespresso - in collaboration with the Festival de Cannes - have hosted Chefs Make Their Cinema; where a selection of world leading chefs are enlisted to reinterpret the filmography of their favourite director across four culinary courses. This year, flying the flag for French cuisine and his preeminent Paris restaurant was the three Michelin starred Pierre Gagnaire.
Having first discovered his movies as a young adult, for his inspiration, Gagnaire looked to Claude Sautet - a master of French cinema, remembered for his intimate, naturalistic dramas. The director’s filmography most prominently painted France during Les Trente Glorieuses - the glorious thirty years following the end of the Second World War; a period which Gagnaire (like much of France) holds close to his heart for the cars, the smoke-filled cafes, and the clothes that defined a generation.
Another characteristic of many of Claude Sautet’s cinematic triumphs, was their reading like that of a musical composition. His seminal Un Coeur En Hiver (A Heart in Winter) from 1992 even went one step further, directly using music itself as a subject for metaphor. Here, comparisons can be made between Gagnaire and his fellow innovator for their integrating of the arts - as summarised by the chef’s creativity resembling that of a novelist, with its twists and turns that take you on a culinary journey that reads like a storybook.
Thus, armed with his pen (or knife) and with Sautet as his stimulus, Gagnaire set to work on his menu amid the scorching Cote d’Azur sun - a far removal from the atmospheric skies found in the films of Sautet - and as night neared, guests were treated to the first of Gagnaire’s courses.
Hors D’oeuvres: a medley of Melon, Tomato, Watermelon, Strawberries in Campari, Pink Burrata and Fresh Almonds - a perfect palate cleanser which set the toothsome tone for the remainder of the evening.
Diners were then presented with an archetypal embodiment of Gagnaire’s fearless fusion cuisine.
Entrée: a Pierre Gagnaire original of Bouillon Zezette; consisting of Green Gnocchi, Strozzapreti and a savoury Dim Sum Cake.
The main course could have been plucked from the Parisian Brasserie of Sautet’s Garçon!
Plat Principal: a Pâté de Veau Chaud de Pitchi - a rich traditional dish with a prime cut of veal at its centre.
Concluding the evening’s story was a dessert worthy of the culinary equivalent of the Palme d'Or.
Dessert: a Tahaa Vanilla Parfait with Green Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms and a Nespresso inspired Grand Cru and Nepal Lamjung Caramel.
While we can’t put into words exactly how good Pierre Gagnaire’s Claude Sautet inspired menu tasted; you can at least attempt to cook his delectable dessert for yourself by following the recipe on the Nespresso website.
Or download their recipe directly here.
Alternatively, witness the virtuoso of one of the world’s leading chefs for yourself at his flagship restaurant Pierre Gagnaire at Hotel Balzac.
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