The [Culinary] Heroes of France

They’re not in the Panthéon in Paris, where France entombs her heroes, but from all the adulation they receive, you’d think they would be.

France not only treats its chefs like celebrities or royalty, but the country  sometimes even views these men (usually they’re all men) like gods. Here’s a taunting image by photographer and film director Francis Giacobetti, taken in the 1980s.

The Fleeting Heroes of France

From left to right: Alain Dutournier, Gérard Boyer, Jean-André Charial, Jean Delaveyne, Roger Vergé, Gérard Antonin, Paul Bocuse, Michel Guérard, Alain Chapel, André Daguin, Alain Senderens, Jean-Pierre Morot-Gaudry, and Gérard Pangaud.

Their names may be unknown to you now, which just goes to show you just how fleeting is renown … unless you’re Antonin Carême or Auguste Escoffier.

A myth, the superiority of French cuisine? Perhaps. But it makes for a most delicious quest, much like tramping through the woods on a mushroom foray. You don’t know what you’ll find, but you know it’ll be good.

Champignons de Paris/Parisian Mushrooms
Serves 4

Makes a nice appetizer served with toasted bread slices.

8 ounces small white button mushrooms
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. finely chopped parsley

Clean and trim the mushrooms. Combine mushrooms, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oil. Cover. Over medium-high heat, cook for about 10 minutes, shaking pan often to avoid scorching. Remove from heat and let cool. With a slotted spoon, turn the mushrooms into a serving dish. Add the mustard to cooking liquid, stir well. Pour over the mushrooms and garnish with the chopped parsley.

© 2010 C. Bertelsen

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