Monday, October 29, 2007

LENOTRE is an artisan's feat

Does the word LENOTRE ring a bell?

A decade ago, this word was a common vocabulary. That was the time when operational costs were reasonable and chefs were not churned from diploma-mill culinary schools. The art of pastry was well-respected, upheld and guarded.

A decade after, the art of patisserie was slowly replaced by mechanical systems or semi-finished products. They are so convenient and cost-effective that the pastry chef is no longer wanted in the kitchen. Yes, the art is dying. Our profession is slowly becoming extinct.

However, Lenotre is there resisting the destructive wave.

Lenotre is a class of its own. If you don't know what it really is just understand the difference between Gold and Bronze or Rolls Royce and Kia. It was founded by none other than Gaston Lenotre who was a master of his time together with other prominent personalities like Alain Chapel, René Lasserre, Pierre Laport, Paul Bocuse and Alain Ducasse.

For a good two weeks I and other fellow Sofitel chefs from all over Australia participated in the Lenotre Accreditation Program. Yes, to be able to serve this Parisian signature one must be accredited. In Australia, Chef Patissier Mark Stone is the only one certified to produce Lenotre products.

Admittedly, I was slightly skeptical about Lenotre. Why on earth does it have to be revered? However, during the training, everyone understood how Lenotre has preserved finesse and perfection in its craft. Lenotre is not just a brand. It is a Parisian heritage. There is so much respect put into every recipe from the choice of ingredients down to temperature control and techniques. No shortcuts! No bullshit!

I am happy to share some of my favorite Lenotre creations that are part of the new 2007 Collection.

Beginning from the top:

1.) Red Berries Gateau St. Honore - petit and bursting with the flavor of raspberry.
2.) Seventies - can you tell why? Look closely at the chocolate disks. It is made of caramel mousse and a tangy grapefruit center.
3.) Triangle d'Or - where is the triangle? It is supposed to be in a triangular shape. It is almost similar to Seventies but the center is made of lemon cream. It has a much pronounced taste of bitterness and tanginess.
4.) Masai - referring to the Kenyan Masai Tribe where the chocolate garnish resembling as spears. The base is made of peanut crispy which tastes much like Snickers. It is a crunchy treat with a mild hint of, of course, peanut.
5.) The New Lenotre Scholars - L-R: Mark Stone - Australia's Chef Patissier, myself, Stephane - Lenotre Chef Patissier, Volkmark - Sofitel Cairns, Paul Raynor - The Mansion & Scott - Sofitel Melbourne
6.) Graffiti - my favorite. It reveals a pink sponge and raspberries when cut. A truly divine marriage of flavors.

If you want to see the rest of the creations, you may visit my flickr account.

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