|Chef William Groult of école de cuisine Alain Ducasse with Jennifer Brouwer and Lynne Knowlton|
Most of the #EmbraceParis four-day itinerary was straightforward. The one intriguing exception was Tuesday, for which the program mysteriously read, "Our surprise dinner will be just that - a surprise!"
There was still some speculation about our precise destination when a couple of sleek, black cars whisked us away from Le Meurice on Tuesday evening. As they glided to a stop in front of a rather nondescript looking building in the 16th arrondissement, the sight of an "École de Cuisine Alain Ducasse" sign set my heart aflutter. Not only are the Michelin starred Restaurant le Meurice and Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée under Alain Ducasse's creative influence, the French chef has designed the menus of many prestigious establishments worldwide, from Monaco to New York and Tokyo to Doha. The #EmbraceParis ladies were in for a real treat!
|Selection Alain Ducasse brut on ice|
Chef William Groult welcomed us to his state-of-the art kitchen with a glass of champagne (selection Alain Ducasse brut, bien sûr!) and explained the menu for the evening: cooked and raw asparagus salad with deviled eggs garnish, red mullet fillets gratinated with tomato and basil followed by a surprise dessert. Without further ado, teams of two started cutting tomatoes and peeling asparagus. If our asparagus looked a bit rough around the edges, we slyly exchanged it for our neighbor's perfectly trimmed spears. The same thing may, or may not, have happened after we used tweezers to pluck the fine bones out of the red mullet filets.
|Ready for action - the #EmbraceParis ladies, Marie-Aude from Le Meurice and Solène from the Plaza Athénée|
Just as families bond over shared meals, the animated Alain Ducasse cooking class inspired teamwork, collaboration and camaraderie. It was the perfect way for our group of ten international women to spend our last evening together in Paris. Plus, the three-course meal that we helped prepare was absolutely delicious!
If you would like to learn to cook like a Parisian chef, the École de Cuisine Alain Ducasse offers a wide range of cooking classes in English from "Bistro Cuisine" to "Macaron Madness". The Alain Ducasse Cooking School has recently opened a brand new space on the third floor of the BHV Marais. There are also cooking classes for mini-chefs and teens.
64 rue du Ranelagh
Le BHV Marais, 3rd floor
52 rue de Rivoli
Here's a video of the #EmbraceParis cooking class at the École de Cuisine Alain Ducasse made by the talented Andrea Claire:
|École de cuisine Alain Ducasse - Cooked and raw asparagus salad, deviled eggs garnish|