fine food - Christophe Raoux

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Café de la Paix at InterContinental Paris le Grand Hotel

 

Christophe Raoux, Head Chef at Café de la Paix at InterContinental Paris le Grand Hotel, shares his recipe for a melon, strawberry, and verbena starter.


Since September 2009, Christophe Raoux has been at the helm of one of the largest kitchen brigades in France – the Café de la Paix restaurant (InterContinental Paris le Grand Hotel) in Paris. His superlative career is punctuated with the best restaurants and collaborations with renowned chefs such as Michel de Matteis, Guy Legay, Guy Krenzer, Gérard Besson, and Alain Ducasse, for whose group he was executive chef.


Serving up to 2,500 meals a day, including all of the hotel’s food service, the chef reigns over an incredible labyrinth of kitchens and manages impressive quantities of food, not to mention his continual quest for something new. This passion leads him to work with talented small producers whose consistent quality he holds in high esteem: poultry from the Cour d’Armoise, charcuterie from Pierre Oteiza, suckling lamb from Michel Oçafrain, or the magnificent products from Terroirs d’Avenir.


When asked what he likes to cook best, he doesn’t hesitate: game and truffles of every season: Tuber melanosporum (black truffle), Tuber incinatum (burgundy truffle), etc., and his eyes shine as he talks with relish about Hare à la Royale or the savoury pastry Oreiller de la Belle Aurore.



Ingredients

  • 1/4 yellow melon
  • 1/2 melon from Cavaillon (region in the south of France)
  • a few Ciflorette strawberries
  • several sprouts of verbena
  • slightly salted butter
  • seasoning: salt and pepper
  • Old Porto


Method

  1. To make rosettes from the melon from Cavaillon: chop fine slivers of melon and roll them together to give a flower shape.
  2. Place the rosettes in a bowl, facing them towards the outside. Put the bowl in the fridge in order for the rosettes to take a circular shape.
  3. To make the strawberry chutney: slice the strawberries into four pieces and fry them with a little slightly salted butter. Deglaze with some of the Old Porto. Season and mix.
  4. Slice the yellow melon into cubes of different sizes. With a teaspoon, dig out the base of the cubes and stuff with the strawberry chutney.
  5. In a pan, reduce the Old Porto, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Carefully turn the bowl of melon rosettes over onto a plate.
  7. Alternating the shapes, place the stuffed cubes of yellow melon on both sides of the plate. The goal is to show something visual with volume and different colours.
  8. On each cube of yellow melon put a fine sliver of strawberry or a ball of melon, after soaking the base in the reduction of the Old Porto. Then carefully place a sprout of verbena on each element.
  9. To finish, add some drops of Old Porto reduction by way of decoration.
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