“A Treasure within a Treasure”
Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris provided a series of unexpected surprises and delights, from the moment we stepped through the entrance, to the discovery of our exquisite rooms and all of their treasures.
Our hotel guide, Anne Sophie Bonnisseau, highlighted the various styles of art showcased throughout… a LAG acoustic guitar in every guest room! She explained that the goal of the hotel’s recent renovation and re-creation was to offer the “History and vibes of Paris… infused with encounters and emotions, immersed with a French spirit, imbued with culture and fully devoted to a genuine elegance.” Success.
Experiencing the creations of Le Royal Monceau’s Executive Chef, Laurent André, was as exciting as the hotel itself. Sitting in the lobby lounge, enjoying a cocktail with journalist friends Michelle and Kurt Winner, gave us the opportunity to ask Chef Laurent a myriad of questions.
The chef’s impressive background included tutelage under his first mentor, Alain Chapel, followed by training by Alain Ducasse. These relationships exposed André to working in a kitchen that had just received its third Michelin Star. After rising through the ranks, his next adventure would be teaming with Jean-Louis Nomicos.
Chef Laurent is drawn to fine cuisine minus the drama, where the focus is on quality of ingredients and inspired by the world. He was a stakeholder in the opening of the original Spoon in 1998, resulting in subsequent openings in London, then Hong Kong.
During 2009, after close to ten years apart from his time in France, Chef Laurent longed for an extraordinary opportunity to return home to. When he met Sylvain Ercoli, General Manager of Le Royal Monceau, they immediately clicked. Because of the goal of the hotel’s renaissance to be one the most luxurious properties in Paris, they felt its cuisine needed to be distinctive and different from other prestigious Parisian establishments. They conceived of a specialized approach, demanding only the highest quality.
This has been a wild success, but as all budding ventures, is a continuous work in progress. Chef Laurent focuses as much attention as possible on seasonal and local ingredients. There are slight menu changes daily… and what a masterpiece it is.
Chef Laurent was relaxed and a delight to interview. “A few weeks into the new menus, bored, I am thinking toward the next fresh ingredients that will be available,” he said. As the interview wrapped up, Chef had to return to the kitchen, so we finished our cocktails and went to La Cuisine to enjoy dinner. This started off with 1999 Duval LeRoy Champagne, the most delicious any of us had experienced—ever—lingering on the palate for at least fifteen minutes.
Chef Laurent returned to share an idea for a spring or summer recipe with us, as after all, he always is thinking ahead — and we want to share it with you:
Dublin Bay Prawns and Hearts of Palm with Citrus Fruit Segments
- Dublin Bay Prawns
- Broth (white wine, fennel, garlic)
- Salt/Pepper/Olive oil
- Lemon Juice
- Citrus fruits (mixture of different kinds)
- Green salad
1. Dublin Bay prawns preparation
Take out the Dublin Bay prawns (still alive), and remove heads from bodies. Make a short broth (water, white wine, fennel, white pepper, garlic, thyme, coarse salt), then poach the tails in it for a few seconds. Cool them, peel them gently for not breaking the tails, and keep at cool. When dressing, the Dublin Bay prawns will be seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice.
2. Citrus fruits preparation
Select a whole variety of different citrus fruits (yellow and green lemon, oranges, blood oranges, white, pink, red ant Thai grapefruit, lemon caviar, Clementine, kumquat). Peel sharply all citrus fruits, raise segments, and keep juice at cool.
3. Side dishes preparation
The list of other side dishes is not purely established. You can let free your imagination and creativity, knowing that the point of this recipe is to reach a balance of flavors and freshness. Follow one of the basic cooking rules: Focus on the main part, as it is not because you will be using 50 different ingredients that the dish will be more successful.
Thus, create the surprise with different flavors, using heart palm, watermelon, granny smith apple, salad curled, or white asparagus when it is the season.
4. Execution of the citrus fruit dressing
To realize the dressing, use the different juices previously put aside. Reduce it at high heat, taking care not to burn it, and keep cool. Add a line of pomegranate molasses, and whisk it with olive oil of very good quality. Rectify seasoning.
5. Cumin to garnish
Put all ingredients on the plate according to the photo, without forgetting the salad and arugula.