In Paris, food is something out of a dream. The smells of baguettes, baked daily in the artisan bakeries accompany you on your walks. Vibrant fruits and vegetables greet you at every corner. Cheese shops offer complete meals of mouth-filling chevre and brie. Specialty butcher shops await you with their extraordinary cuts for the perfect red wine meal.
A la illustrious chef Julia Child, I, too, have an unyielding passion to learn the art of French cooking, which is why I simply had to fulfill my dream at the Cook’n With Class cooking school on my latest trip to Paris.
Eric Fraudeau, the owner of the mini multinational school, recommended the market class, the most popular of the school’s offered courses, as my immersive crash course to cooking like a French woman.
As the clock dripped past 5, I emerged from the Jules Joffrin metro station (line 12) in Montmartre, the 18th arrondisement of Paris, where I met my four other classmates and Chef Patrick Hebert.
With 40 years of experience whipping up dishes for the British elite at the Hotel Savoy and Claridges in London, as well as owning and operating his own acclaimed restaurant in New Orleans, I knew my stomach was in expert hands with Chef Patrick. We decided on scallops and onions with a red wine vinegar reduction for our appetizer, veal and vanilla bean mashed potatoes with peas for the entree, a cheese plate, and fruit-based dessert. Happy with the menu, we walked a few blocks until we reached the Montmartre open-air market. Our first stop after scooping up some baguettes at the bakery was the Crusta Poissons fish vendor.
At each stop, Chef Patrick informed us of helpful tidbits to arm us with information for future gastronomic endeavors. For example, duck meat is leaner than chicken; one should never buy a dead crab because the toxins will linger even after it’s been cooked; and to tell if a fish is fresh, when you open the gill there will be a red coloring.
In the fromagerie, we bought five different types of French cheeses to