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French flavors grace guest chef's menu like a fugue

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French flavors grace guest chef's menu like a fugue

[Photo provided to China Daily]

 

When a foreign chef arrives in China for a guest stint in a restaurant kitchen, the first
adventure is usually at customs. Most bring a suitcase – or two – full of ingredients they
fear won't be available in the Chinese mainland.

When Frederik Bizat arrived in Beijing last week, the only food in his bags was 2 kilograms
of French black truffles. He's taken over the kitchen at Flo Maison through Sunday, wher
he‘s present two mouth-watering set menus, including one driven by the fragrant black fungi.

For other produce, he wasn't worried.

"Flo is a fine French restaurant that has been around for years," he says. "I know there is good
expertise at sourcing ingredients."

Bizat normally runs the kitchen of Michelin-starred Les Trois Soleils de Montal, in the town of
Saint-Cere in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France. He's not one of those Michelin chefs who
parachutes into Asian kitchens often – the owner of Flo spends a lot of time in his part of France,
and persuaded Bizat to bring his deft balance of delicate flavors and textures to Beijing last year.
Now he’s back for a second stint, while his own restaurant is closed for winter holidays. His wife,
Florence, who runs "the front of the house" in France is with him in Beijing, greeting guests as they
arrive in the Flo Maison dining room.

"This is my vacation," he says with a smile.

Beijing diners may think they are on holiday this week too. One menu starts with a delicate amuse
bouche, thin slices of foie gras, slightly sweet on toasted cracker. It was a welcome change from the
overwhelming wedge of foie gras many chefs find irresistible to flaunt. The same grace with goose
liver comes in the first course, a ravioli with a foie-gras filling that doesn't overwhelm the dish's other
flavors.

Next came St. Jacques Pacific scallops with celeriac cream and black truffle, followed by New Zealand
lamb saddle with garlic cream and aubergine.

The dessert is a gloriously light passion-fruit mousse, with coconut sherbet, citrus, mango and crispy tuille.
The tropical fruits are an example of Bizat's embrace of Asian ingredients – and eagerness for carefully
selected seasonal produce wherver he is. Ginger, kaffir lime juice, Thai basil and a sauce of white miso
appear elsewher on the menu.

The four-course Les Trois Soleils menu described here is 688 yuan plus service charge; the five-course
Black Diamond Truffle menu is 988 yuan ($143).

Through Sunday at Flo Maison, 18 Xiao Yun Lu, Chaoyang district. 010-6595-5135.

 

French flavors grace guest chef's menu like a fugue

Frederik Bizat [Photo provided to China Daily]

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