Posts Tagged ‘France’

Chef Etienne Barrier

Tuesday, 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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Silversea – Day 7, July 14 – - Cannes, France

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Yachts & Chops

Ahhhh…I finally made it to Cannes and as portrayed, the material beauty was all the rage and yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the display.  Please feel free to deduct whatever you wish from that statement however, I decide not to post all the eye encountered.  With impressive yachts seeming to outnumbering the people and gorgeous weather with plenty of sun, I now get why people flock here and I shall do the same for my next landlocked getaway to the Côte d’Azur.  It doesn’t matter if you are here to view or to be viewed – - Cannes has something for everyone and I found mine at the Carlton Beach restaurant – - CHOPS.


Entering Cannes – View from the balcony


Entering Cannes – View from the balcony


The Carlton


Toy Collection


Silver Wind from the tender


The tender into Cannes


Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes


Cannes Port


Toy collection in the Bay of Cannes


Tony at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes


Carlton Beach Restaurant


Carlton Beach Restaurant


Carlton Beach Restaurant


Carlton Beach Restaurant


2011 Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge Louis Lator


The Lamb Chops


Now that we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful lunch, take in the sights and make a purchase or two, it was time to head back and rest up for the evening and our next port of call.  Although brief the visit was ideal as one can never tire of the beautiful Côte d’Azur.


Toy Collection


Hotel Majestic Barrière


Back on board


Leaving Cannes


Up Next: Barcelona, Spain

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Silversea – Day 3, July 10 – - Calvi, Corsica

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Today we arrive in the quaint port of Calvi Corsica, reputedly the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.  After enjoying a wonderful breakfast aboard, we decided to walk the streets and enjoy the local calmness that was upon us and to burn a few calories.

Arriving in Calvi, Corsica


Calvi, Corsica – The Wind


Boardwalk in Calvi


Boardwalk in Calvi


End of the Boardwalk – - the Citadel in the background


End of the Boardwalk


Calvi, Corsica


Outside the Citadel


The shore of the Citadel


The shore of the Citadel


Climbing the steps of the citadel made me extremely thirsty which led to several rounds of Peach Bellinis – - hard liquor may I add.  The chosen spot for this carefree afternoon was done knowing we were only steps away from the ship.

Bellini Time!!!!


STRONG Bellinis


Round One…..and two to follow


After getting to know the staff really well… was time to head back to the ship for a mid-day snack and to rest up for dinner as relaxation mode never ended.

 Up Next: Portofino, Italy



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Silversea – - Rome to Nice!!!! How I Spent My Summer

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

After spending three days in heavenly comfort at Cavalieri,  it was time to set sail on Silversea.  The scenic forty-five minute drive to Civitavecchia was as peaceful and uneventful as one could hope to experience.  Securely strapped in and gazing upon the horizon as our driver tested the speed of the elegant Mercedes E350,  I couldn’t help but laugh as I wished my high school, “How I  spent my summer” reports were made of experiences like Silversea — ahhhh, but better late than never!!!

As we neared the port of Civitavecchia my excitement grew stronger as this would be the sixth voyage with Silversea.  Knowing what awaited me and the ease of travel that is always superb with Silversea, I lost all cares and simply slipped into nirvana.  Being greeted with properly chilled Champagne set the stage for the kind of luxury and relaxation one expects when doing opulance without being kitsch.  Settling in was a breeze as familiar ground made for a very pleasant and uncomplicated return.  The pleasure of unpacking once, relaxing and enjoying a different port every morning without travel drama is by far the way to travel.  Being back home on “The Wind” was the ideal vessel to experience such pleasure and relaxation.  Experiencing a crew of 222 and 296 guests, exclusivity, privacy and a touch of intimacy is by far the way to do this; there’s a reason why the returns to Silversea keeps happening and this trip was to be no exception.

The map and itinerary below shows what turned out to be a very relaxing and peaceful ten-day getaway.  I’m certain you’ll enjoy the stops in the upcoming posts as the highlighted encounters are sure to whet your palate for plans on an upcoming voyage.  The idea of touching the shores of Italy, Spain and France brought on a sense of personal adventure, fulfillment and oneness  as some of my dearest and closest friends reside within their borders.  Heading to the high seas never felt better!!!

Whether it was returning to Florence for lunch at Dino’s, an exclusive truffle hunting excursion at Savini Tartufi where seven of us struck “Black Gold” with a little help from our four legged friend “Giotto,”  breathtaking views from Hotel Splendido in Portofino, an exceptional lunch and delicious wine at Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita, drinking “red” Meursault at the Carlton’s beach restaurant in the bay of Cannes where yachts seemed to outnumber the people this return was just perfect with incredible delights that satisfied all appetites.  There was no shortage of a good time as this has always been “My Silversea Experience.”

I look forward to seeing you on the “High Seas.”  Hmmmm……why don’t we plan a group getaway so I can introduce you to some amazing spots and friends????




Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy to Nice, France

Date: Jul 08 2014
Ship: Silver Wind
Duration: 10 days







Jul 08 2014 Tue Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 6:00 PM
Jul 09 2014 Wed Olbia, Italy 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
Jul 10 2014 Thu Calvi, Corsica, France 8:00 AM 11:00 PM
Jul 11 2014 Fri Portofino, Italy 8:00 AM 11:00 PM
Jul 12 2014 Sat Livorno (Florence), Italy 8:00 AM
Jul 13 2014 Sun Livorno (Florence), Italy 7:00 PM
Jul 14 2014 Mon Cannes, France 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
Jul 15 2014 Tue Barcelona, Spain 1:00 PM
Jul 16 2014 Wed Barcelona, Spain 6:00 PM
Jul 17 2014 Thu Sete, France 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
Jul 18 2014 Fri Nice, France 7:00 AM


As we waited to set sail to Porto Cervo - - the magic began: Wine, Food and making Friends!!!!  This greeting says it all, coming or going.  No one really ever leaves The Eternal City.




Up Next: Olbia, Italy - - Porto Cervo



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Chef Laurent Paccini – Le Saint-Paul de Vence

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

April 16th – Dinner

In 2005 I met Chef Laurent Paccini in Lago di Garda.   Although it would be almost seven years later before we saw each other again,  I knew the time spent with then sous Chef Laurent Paccini and Chef Ricardo Camanini at Villa Fiordaliso was something incredibly special and meaningful.  It was this encounter that landed me in the kitchen for four hours and that put all chefs in a different light.

Now, Le Saint-Paul Vence  and the feast that was about to unfold.  I needed more than yoga and an ab workout after this decadent display of Italian and French cuisine.  Laurent you truly set the bar high.  Looking forward to the next masterpiece.


The Arrival


Tony near the courtyard


2008 Domaine Olivier Leflaive “Les Deux Rives” Chablis


Amuse Bouche


Foie Gras Poêlé, Asperges et sorbet au vin chaud Pan fried Foie Gras with Asparagus and mulled wine sorbet


Les Escargots – - Tarte fine d’escargot persillés, crème d’ail et parmesan Thin pastry snail tart with parsley, cream of garlic and parmesan


Nicholas Potel – 2003 Clos Saint-Denis


Le Risotto – - Risotto aux noisettes du Piedmont, citrons confits et Bagoss Hazelnut risotto, lemon confit, and Bagoss cheese


L’Agneau – - Selle rôtie et confit d’agneau, céréales épicées Roast saddle of lamb & lamb confit, with spices


Photo unavailable:

Le Ris de veau

Ris de veau laqué au café, purée légère de legumes

Coffee glazed sweet breads, served with vegetable purée

Le Porcelet Porcelet rôti, manioc et mini carottes Roasted suckling pig with Manioc and mini carrots


Lions de Suduiraut – Sauternes 2009


Le Chocolate Dessert


Le Sablé – Sablé aux céréales et fruits exotiques Shortcrust pastry with grains and exotic fruit.




Tony & Chef Laurent Paccini


Chef Laurent Paccini, Walid (chef de rang) & Frédéric BERNARD (maitre d’hotel)


With Chef Laurent Paccini


This evening with Chef Laurent was truly one of the best meals I’ve had to this day.  Not only did I reconnect with a friend but, I also had the opportunity to experience a meal prepared by a friend whose culinary talents are absolutely extraordinary.

There are several key elements I strive to connect with when dinning and enjoying wine – - reverence, wisdom and vision.  Thanks to Chef Laurent, who embodies those elements and execute them without missing a step, this experience was above and beyond anything I could have planned.  You must make the trip to Le Saint-Paul to experience Chef Laurent’s expertise.  Whenever I’m in the Côte d’Azur, you can be sure to find me back at Le Saint-Paul.

Laurent – - Bravo!!!!!!