What a week for food! I attended two wonderful chef’s dinners and want to share with you the experience in pictures. One was in New York on May 19th with Daniel Boulud for a book signing dinner, where I made some great new friends (including sitting next to fabulous food blogger Victoria Hart Glavin of Tiny New York Kitchen)  and dining on superb food paired with wines. Chef Boulud and I had our picture taken together and then mingled with about 50 guests for hors d’oeuvres of deep fried soft shell crab with lemon tartare sauce and paper thin “pizzas”. More about the food below.

Daniel Boulud

          The dinner was held at Daniel’s restaurant, DB Bistro Moderne on 44th Street in a private room in the back for about 50 people. I hope you can get a feel for what the food is like by the photos below: fresh, with interesting flavor combinations. I also met Karim Raoul, owner of Raoul’s Restaurant in Soho, one of my favorite restaurants in New York. He hails from Alsace, so the restaurant has a French accent and is a great rendez-vous for an intimate dinner with friends.

         The menu at DB Bistro started with a plate for the table of Assorted Charcuterie, complemented by Cherry Mustard and Pickled Vegetables. Another plate came hot out of the oven filled with miniature Arrancini, tiny one-pop-in-the-mouth wonders. For the first course, you could choose from either Seared Diver Scallops with Harissa, Fresh Garbanzo Beans and Gem Lettuce…..


 or (the most amazing) Beet Salad. It started with a Old Chatham yogurt cream on the plate, topped with toasted Quinoa, topped with beautifully arranged beets, then with salted beet chips tipping the scale towards the top of pleasures for the palate.

          Then I had the Slow Baked Striped Bass with White and Green Asparagus, Lemon Beurre Blanc, topped with an airy Bacon Foam—great flavor combinations.

Striped Bass

          Most of you know I am a dessert person to the extreme, so I ordered mine: Creme Fraiche Parfait with Toasted Almond Cremeux, Tiny Lavender Meringues, and Blackberry Champagne Sorbet….

Daniel Boulud Creme Fraiche Parfait

….then tipped my spoon into my neighbor’s “Malted Chocolate Bar”: Salted Caramel Ganache, Buttermilk Gelee, with Espresso Ice Cream…wow…..just wow…..


…..the finishing touch was a bed of really tiny Lemon Madelaines, still warm, cradled in a snowy napkin……


         So I hopped in my car the next morning after that very impressive dinner in New York City and drove straight north to New Hampshire in time to attend my friend, Chef Luca Paris‘s chef’s dinner for Sandford D’Amato to honor his new cookbook, Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer

Good Stock Cookbook

         Luca has appeared on Guy Fieri’s Grocery Games and is a celebrity chef with restaurants and a catering business in Keene, NH. We’ve known each other for almost 15 years, so it was with great anticipation that I arrived as a guest for this dinner, as I knew the cooking by his talented crew would be amazing and I was interested to see how they interpreted the recipes from the book. I also was interested to see how the dinner proceeded as Luca is also giving a chef dinner for me later this year.

         Here’s the menu from recipes in the book:

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The first course was superb, especially the unami of the mush against the silky scallops and tart raisin vinaigrette. I adored the delicate Grilled Pear and Roquefort Tart……


………and had a flavor explosion in my mouth (a good one!!!) from the Ginger Snap Cannoli Shell with a whipped dried cherry mascarpone cream:



          I think you would really like Sandford’s book. It’s more of a memoir than a cookbook, yet has 80 recipes, and I think you’ll enjoy his humorous writing explaining how he got interested in food and found his way through the restaurant world to finally open his own restaurant. Extremely talented. Big thanks to Chef Luca Paris for inviting me. I also met Luca and Sandford’s literary agent, Sally Ekus at the dinner, and Scott Rogers from the Cheshire Career Center for Culinary Arts…all great foodies to share the evening with. I’m beginning to really see the value of chef’s dinners…a great way to dine on special off-the-menu dishes and meet people with similar interests.

I hope you enjoyed coming along with me! I am currently out doing book signings for my cookbook, Cuisine Nicoise: Sun-kissed Cooking from the French Riviera and will soon be out on the road signing for my upcoming cookbook, French Comfort Food, both of which are on Amazon.com………French Comfort Food will be available in bookstores by August 1st. Very excited to have my two French cookbooks out and I am already working on an idea for the next one. So follow along with me and I hope I’ll be able to visit your area and meet you at a book signing or chef dinner.


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