Chef Etienne Barrier

May 19th, 2015

April 28, 2015

After checking-in, unpacking and getting a little rest, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chef Etienne before lunch at Jardins Plein Ciel, the rooftop terrace to discuss his passion and the inspirations that motivates him in and out of the kitchen.  As I reached the terrace, I was so excited to discover the partnership Hotel Raphael and Lanson formed.  Everyday became a Lanson day!!!!  A wonderful chill was in the air as we set atop Hotel Raphael enjoying spectacular views of Paris while giant clouds intermittently allowed bursts of brilliant sun to warm the air as we began to converse.  What a wonderful time to be in Paris!!!

Lanson – entrance to the rooftop


The rooftop terrace


Chef Etienne Barrier

Chef Etienne, first and foremost, thank you for taking time out to speak with me and to share your thoughts on and about your passion.  I would like to start with the future.

EB: “Thank you for your interest and welcome to Hotel Raphael and to one of the most amazing views in Paris”

TM: Thank you.  With respect to the art of distinguished cuisine, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

EB: “Abroad, to discover other culinary cultures, then coming back to France and distinguish myself by developing my own culinary identity”  

 TM: How do you integrate your creative and intellectual approach to cuisine with your palate and satisfying discerning guests?

 EB: “I take inspiration from the other luxurious places I have worked in, with the same demanding clientele, so I can gauge the guest’s expectations. I take into consideration my personal satisfaction, my positive feeling about the cooking and tasting experience. Also, I care about the seasons, my wishes,…”

TM: If given the opportunity to set fire to cuisine side-by-side with anyone living or not, whom would it be and why?

 EB: ” Philippe Mille, Chef of the  “Crayères” in Reims (2 Michelin stars awarded in 2011 and 2012, elected MOF in 2011 : Meilleur Ouvrier de France) for his wide knowledge of the profession, his humility in all circumstances. I would also place Michel Roth at the same level for the same reasons”

TM: What’s your approach to making a dish a one of a kind experience and which ingredient or combination of ingredients you could not live without, should you have everything except this ingredient?

EB: “I simply think about seasoning. A pure sea salt mixed with pepper freshly crushed. Without this, the best piece of fish or meat is tasteless”

TM: What’s the one thing you wish all your guests would bring to the table and the one thing you wish your guests to take from the table?

EB: “I expect them to come for an experience. I expect them to leave with the feeling of a good time spent with their friends or family, an opportunity to share. I would like them to have culinary memories. That would mean that my mission is accomplished”

TM: With wine being such and integral part of a complete gastronomic experience, do share your favorite?

 EB: “Burgundian Pinot Noir – Échezeaux”

TM: And last but not least your favorite dish or dishes?

EB:I  love dishes subtly cooked. Every noble product can be delicious and tasteful if it is finely prepared. The seasoning is essential. For fish, turbot with a shellfish sauce and tiny seasonal vegetables. Meat : pigeon stuffed with foie gras and olive tapenade, homemade French fries with meat jus.

TM: Chef thank you so much for your time and for getting personal about your passion.  It has truly been a pleasure meeting you and now I’m dying to experience your passion first hand.

EB: “Thank you for being here. Enjoy lunch and your stay.”

Chef Etienne Barrier

Now that I’ve worked up an incredible appetite, I await Chef Etienne’s subtly inspired, yet noble lunch.  Ahhhh…….the Lanson has arrived!!!!

Lanson on the terrace


Lanson Extra Age Brut


Lanson on the terrace


Le Menu


Le bar des côtes Françaises ( The sea bass from French Coasts)


Château Peyrabon 2009 “Haut Médoc”


Le carré d’agneau de lait de France – Sauce Pesto (The rack of milk-fed lamb of France – Olive oil, basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan)


Légumes de Saison (Seasonal Vegetables)


2012 Domaine Pascal Jolivet “Bondenotte” Rouge




Le Praliné


More of the 2012 Domaine Pascal Jolivet “Bondenotte” Rouge


2012 Domaine Pascal Jolivet “Bondenotte” Rouge

To make this insightful conversation with Chef Etienne and stunningly delicious lunch complete, was to be joined by the kitchen .  These are the smiles and thank yous I live for!!!!

The Kitchen Staff


Sous Chef Thomas CHEGARAY


Chef Etienne & Ms. Auriane MOREAU


The Kitchen Staff


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Hotel Raphael – April 28, 2015

May 17th, 2015

© Hotel Raphael Paris – - Courtesy of Hotel Raphael


When elegance and understated opulence is of the upmost importance, surrounded by the right amount of refined etiquette, one should plant themselves at the wonderful Leading Hotels’ property, Hotel Raphael.  Located at 17 Avenue Kléber in the 16th Arrondissement, with a rooftop picture perfect view of the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur, you truly experience something amazing and special in this quaint oasis as the busy sounds of Paris dissipates once inside.  I was truly amazed of its proximity to the busy Champs-Elysées as the serene and peaceful atmosphere at Hotel Raphael tapped into both of my worlds – - leisure and epicurean exhaustion.

I must first thank Mr. Norbert HENROT, Director/Executive Manager, who has fashioned a very professional and highly skilled staff whose attention to detail and personal care is simply superb.  To Ms. Auriane MOREAU, your correspondences prior to our arrival made for a most memorable and flawless experience as spending time with Chef Etenine was quite amazing.  And Mr. Julien TONNERRE, thank you so very much for securing those hard to get reservations, especially The Magic Flute and l’Histoire de Manon.  How delightful it was to spend an afternoon at the opera and an exciting, yet peaceful evening at the ballet. Neither would have been possible if not for your assistance.  From our arrival to our departure, everyone was topnotch and extremely graceful!!!!

Hotel Raphael


Lobby Entrance




Entrance to Le Raphael Restaurant & Le Bar


Le Raphael Restaurant


Le Bar seating


Le Bar




Stairway to R & R




The Suite


Balcony View


View from the Balcony


The Suite with Lanson




The Suite


The Suite


Enjoyoing the Paris breeze with Lanson and fruit before lunch


Now, as I embarked upon this return, all I could recall was a quotation from  professor Daniel N. Robinson, “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom,” and bloom they did as I once again dined my way through this amazing city of lights and gastronomic pleasures.  And here is where the first bloom blossomed: The next post – - My rooftop interview with Chef Etienne Barrier and lunch.


Rooftop terrace



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By Land, If Not By Sea……

May 13th, 2015

Last week would have been the week of my Wine and Waves Getaway unfortunately, a change in plans occurred after schedules and timing didn’t align to facilitate enough connoisseurs for the group tour, but not to worry, I turned to “The City of Lights” and its amazing cuisine for what I shall call my second “Michelin Madness” getaway (Michelin Madness #1.)  It’s the end of April and YES, as cliché as it sounds, it was “April in Paris,” well at least the last three days and a few in May. The moment plans were made for Pairs I reached out to several of my favorite dining destinations to secure reservations, as Paris is one of my gastronomic playgrounds and having friends in “High Places” helped to make this second feast another “Sagacious Palate” experience.  My last gastronomic adventure in Paris placed me at some of the most coveted tables – - and once again my experience left me seeing stars, “Michelin” that is.

So, sit back and enjoy the next postings for what turned out to be one the most relaxing and fun-filled times in Paris.  Great wine, food and friends were at the center of this return and I must say – - It was fantastic!!!!

The Rooftop – Hotel Raphael


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Wine & Truffles….My Simple

March 29th, 2015

My simple is going from ordinary to extraordinary in less than 20 minutes, what’s yours?  A great combination  of tilapia, arugula, a delicious bottle of 2012 Fiano di Avellino and a shaved  “Black Truffle” turned what would normally be a simple dinner into an amazing one.  Having purchased several black truffles flown directly from Italy just days after being unearthed was heaven for a week as I practically shaving truffles on everything I set fire to.  This being my last was somewhat bittersweet, but I loved every bite!!!!

2012 Rocca del Principe “Fiano di Avellino”


Fiano di Avellino, Tilapia and Arugula with shaved Black Truffles


Go make your ordinary extraordinary and find your simple!!!!!


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March 25th, 2015

As we embrace spring I felt it necessary to share one amazing dining experience this past winter.  I’m always inspired by those who create silence between notes, and this experience was one harmonious symphony displaying brilliant music throughout the night.

I shall go the distance when the talent of those who possess greatness bring forth cuisine that showcases the sublime, with flawless elegance and unparalleled symmetry – - this was my experience at Quince in San Francisco.   First and foremost many thanks to Matt Crine, General Manager and the entire team who surpassed my expectations, which can be experienced in previous posts.  From the front of the house to back of the house, including a marvelous tour of the magnificent cellar, everyone gave us five-star service which is and will always be that extra special touch that can not be quantified, only mirrored!!! YES – - Hospitality goes both ways.

Before I go any further, I must thank my wonderful source for suggesting Quince, Chef Chris Marchino of Spiaggia in Chicago.  I knew his recommendations would be outstanding and I’m so grateful I chose Quince.  Thanks Chis, see you soon now that Chicago is warming up!!!!

And now the experience!!!!!!!


© Quince – – Courtesy of Quince


The Kitchen




Amuse Bouche


The Menu


Bread (Squid Ink Pain Au Lait)


Amuse Bouche


Amuse Bouche


Kushi Oyster served with Passion Fruit and Puffed Buckwheat


Black River Siberian Caviar (Maine Scallop, Horseradish & Sorrel)


Black River Siberian Caviar (Maine Scallop, Horseradish & Sorrel)


Spiny Lobster (Sea Urchin, Persimmon, Pink Peppercorn)


Spiny Lobster (Sea Urchin, Persimmon, Pink Peppercorn)


Abalone (Matsutake Mushroom, Turnip, Finger Lime)


Sunchoke Tortelli (Fonduta, Savoy Cabbage, Black Trumpet Mushroom)


Grano Arso Tagliatelle (Phil Paine’s Squab, Pomegranate, Chestnut)


Grano Arso Tagliatelle (Phil Paine’s Squab, Pomegranate, Chestnut)


Milbrook Venison (Parsnip, Walnut, Chicken Mushroom)


And now a little break before dessert…….heading to the cellar.


Private Dining








Dessert Time


Valrhona Guanaja Cremeux (Piedmontese Hazelnut, Sightglass Coffee)


Valrhona Guanaja Cremeux (Piedmontese Hazelnut, Sightglass Coffee)

After what turned out to be one of the most amazing dining experiences I’ve had in San Francisco, I found it extremely difficult to leave this city without feeling somewhat torn as I didn’t travel to wine country but there’s always the next trip out.  However, the wine pairings were great reminders of how rewarding wine and food can be when “Defining and Defying” Perfection.


Adam & Monique….your attention to detail and unparallelled service was impeccable. We Thank You!!!!


Adam & Monique



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