March 30, 2011
Here's something to chew on. There are quite a few restaurants in little Carmel, let alone California or the wider country. So when one of our own is one of only six chefs to earn the right to represent all of North and South America in Europe, you don't have to be a master statistician to understand that is bloody rare ability.
But such is the skill of Aubergine Executive Pastry Chef Ron Mendoza, who will be one of six semi-finalists from the Americas to compete in the C3 International Restaurants Desserts Competition in Paris, France a week from today, on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.
His recipe for a plated dessert followed the rather obscure “Majari and the Flavors of Madagascar” theme earned the slot.
I dug his commentary on the competition: “It means a lot to make it to the semi-finals in Paris," he says, "because it reinforces that even though Aubergine isn’t located in a major metropolitan area, there is still the opportunity to be recognized internationally for creativity and style.”
Here, some pictures by Daniel B. Duran of Mendoza's powers (though not of his championship item—he's keeping that a secret until then). In a word: damn.
This dainty delicacy is a chocolate pudding truffle, accompanied by passion fruit, peanut butter and milk sherbet.
Here comes the white chocolate-lemongrass ice cream, pineapple, avocado and lime cream.
And, finally, the cream cheese parfait, with tangerine, vanilla bean and wood sorrel.
Across the kitchen, new exec chef Justin Cogley is assuming the reins from Christophe Grosjean admirably, and launching some inspired cooking classes with Mendoza starting April 20 (624-8578)—think "Sauce Boot Bamp," "Wonderful World of Tubers" and "The Great Crepe Escape."
Here's the full rundown from their website:
April 20, Wednesday – Seafood 101 April 21, Thursday – Macarons Not Macaroons May 18, Wednesday – All about the Egg May 19, Thursday – All about the Egg White-Meringues & Souffles June 22, Wednesday – Out of the Garden June 23, Thursday – Uses of Mousse(s) September 21, Wednesday – Sauce Boot Camp September 22, Thursday – Pate a Choux & You October 19, Wednesday – Working with Shellfish October 20, Thursday – Proof is in the Pudding November 16, Wednesday – Wonderful world of Tubers November 17, Thursday – The Great Crepe Escape
And the particulars: "Classes take place from 11:30am–1:30pm and are limited to 10 people. The cost is $100 per person, plus tax and service fee. Classes are scheduled on consecutive days so you can enjoy overnight accommodations at L’Auberge at a special seasonal cooking class rate that includes breakfast each morning. Please call reservations to inquire at 831-622-5909."
More on the new Cogley era there soon.