On Friday I interviewed Eric Fréchon, the three-star chef at the five-star Hôtel Bristol in Paris.
It was a gorgeous, crisp, bright day and the sun streamed into the Epicure dining room. As I passed into the kitchen to meet Monsieur Fréchon, the entire staff of the restaurant was lined-up listening to the brief they receive every day before the luncheon service. It was fascinating to see the rapt attention of the team. A three-star restaurant’s reputation is a delicate balance of myriad details that make the experience from the food and wine to the decoration and the service unforgettable. The goal is perfection, the drill is a reminder of the mission and the daily explanations about anything new on the menu.
To reach his office I passed through the kitchen where the silence was total and the concentration intense. Have you ever noticed in films that there seems to be controlled chaos in restaurant kitchens? I asked Fréchon if he ever yelled in the kitchen, “almost never,” he said.
This will be another interview for my next book and it was riveting. I thought it would be fun to share with you something I learned that rather surprised me: When to eat asparagus.
If you look through cookbooks and peruse the best cooking blogs, you’ll discover that — and I couldn’t find an exception — all recommend eating asparagus in April and May, noting that those are the months when the spears are at their peak of deliciousness.
Not so, says Fréchon. “The true asparagus season begins in January and runs through April,” he said. “They are quite good in late January and continue to be rather good in April, however, they are at their very best in March. I only put asparagus on my menu in March. In France, March is the month of perfect asparagus.”
Did you know that?