Tag Archives: Joel Robuchon

Fraiche (now closed)

The gorgeous French Chef Ben Bailly calls me his American “Auntie”. If I were 20 years younger (I’m 46) I’d be seriously offended by this, but in all honesty…. I LOVE IT.

Chefs Night Out 2010I met the 28-year-old chef back in October 2009 at Petrossian in West Hollywood, and at first mistook him for our server. Before eating at the restaurant, I read that Ben had previously worked at various Robuchon kitchens around the world, so I just assumed he was much older.

Well, ever since that first dinner of caviar-stuffed steak tartare and foie gras creme brulée, I have praised, tweeted and done my best to support his craft.

In November, Chef Bailly took over the kitchen at Fraiche restaurant in Culver City and I couldn’t wait to check out his new playground. His new dishes (and creative freedom) made his “Auntie” so very proud indeed!

Fraiche Restaurant
We started the evening beautifully with this St. Tropez Cocktail, made with Hendricks gin, lime, lavender oil, and a cucumber ice cube

Fraiche Restaurant
Hamachi Tartare, Shaved Turnip, Lime, Espelette Pepper

Fraiche Restaurant
Vitello Tonnato: Veal Steak Tartare, Arugula, Parmesan

Fraiche Restaurant
Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo, Dates, Almonds, Manchego Cheese and Piquillo Vinaigrette

Fraiche Restaurant
Belgian Endives: Coppa, Apple, Pecans, Goat Cheese, Truffle Vinaigrette

Fraiche Restaurant
Baby Beets: Mizuna, Ricotta, Orange, Pistachio

Fraiche Restaurant
Taglierini Neri, Maine Lobster, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil

Fraiche Restaurant
Bucatini Carbonara, Slow Poached Egg, Pancetta, Parmesan

Fraiche Restaurant
Soft Polenta with Wild Mushrooms and a Slow Poached Egg

Fraiche Restaurant
House Made Agnolotti: Wild Mushrooms with Mascarpone and Truffle Butter

Fraiche Restaurant
Crispy Loup de Mer, Sunchokes Soubise, Crosnes, Salsifi, Mushrooms, Bordelaise

Fraiche Restaurant
Wine pairing by the charming (and informative) Sommelier Paul Sanginetti

Fraiche Restaurant
Truffle Burger, Onion Fondue, Boschetto, Truffle Aioli, Egg

Fraiche Restaurant
Chocolate Coulant with Toffee and Peanut Butter Ice Cream (this just warmed my heart…. THANK YOU BEN!)

Fraiche Restaurant
After dinner tour: Ben showing me the secret vault below the restaurant!

Fraiche Restaurant
Secret stash

Many, many more Fraiche photos including behind-the-scenes, wine and smiles!

Dinner shared with Peter and the lovely Kate Green on 12/12/10

Fraiche Restaurant (This restaurant is now closed)
9411 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 839-6800

Chef Ben Bailly on Twitter

Fraiche on Twitter

Fraiche on FaceBook

Chef Ben Bailly at Petrossian

All photos of Chef Ben Bailly


Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

Modern Global Tastings

Marcel Vigneron at BreadBar’s Hatchi Series

Marcel Vigneron at HatchiMy two biggest pet peeves in life are ungratefulness and arrogance. If I meet a person, and he (or she) continually shows signs of either, I’m quick to cut and run.

When I initially met chef Marcel Vigneron in the Bazaar’s kitchen last year, I thought he was full of arrogance. So much so, that the first thing I said to him (after a cocktail or two) was, “I hated you on Top Chef”.

If you’re not familiar with the show, Marcel was the runner-up (to Ilan Hall) on Top Chef season two, and his “character” was the one that I think most viewers loved to hate (including me). He was young, cute, super talented and the other cheftestants on the show didn’t like him much either. On TV, Marcel seemed overly cocky, arrogant and quietly obnoxious.

When I think back to our first meeting, I’m still horrified with my behavior. How could I judge a person by his “performance” on a REALITY show? I told a complete stranger that I HATED him. That’s a powerful word, in real life or not. And to top off my ill-mannered introduction, I asked to take a picture with him (he kindly obliged). Talk about ARROGANCE (on my part)!

Great Chefs of L.A. 2009Thankfully, Marcel and I are now friends, and I’ve apologized for that first meeting several times. He is absolutely one of the sweetest and most accomplished chefs around, and what came off as “arrogance” on TV was simply CONFIDENCE. It’s such a shame that the Bazaar didn’t appreciate his talent or patience. He quit recently and has been busy filming a pilot for SYFY, while also managing his Modern Global Tasting Catering Company.

Luckily, we food lovers got to experience an entire evening of Marcel’s cuisine at BreadBar’s recent December Hatchi event. The menu theme, was not surprisingly, the same as his catering company, “Modern Global Tastings”. Modern techniques included spherifications, sous vide and foams (just for us lucky Top Chef fans perhaps?). Global Tastings took our tastebuds around the world in one evening, and the cost was just $8 for each plate!

Hatchi at BreadBar is a “unique venture featuring a different guest chef every month preparing an original, one-night-only suite of eight plates, including six ’savory’ dishes and two ’sweet’ creations”. Hatchi means number eight in Japanese: 8 Plates offered at $8 each. Quite the bargain for what you get, and I try to attend each one.

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBiteMarcel’s guest chef Hatchi dinner was rather poignant, because this was one of the few times the general public got to taste HIS FOOD. Our table was filled with fellow foodies and friends including Marcel’s good pal, chef Ben Bailly (of Petrossian). Ben and Marcel previously worked together at Joël Robuchon, and it was hilarious watching them discuss each plate (sometimes whispering) throughout the evening.

As the night came to a close, the exhaustion was apparent on Marcel’s face, but more importantly… so was the pride, because it was all about HIS concept, HIS menu, HIS food (which was all phenomenal). I felt so grateful to be part of the delicious experience, and can’t wait for what’s next!

Modern Global Tastings:

“The edible alchemy presented here is a food movement representation intended to not only express a culinary philosophy but also to evoke a conscious perception of the natural shape and flavor of substances, colors, and textures that exist within the earth and have been interpreted by your sorcerer composer. May your appetite grow and your belly be satisfied.” ~ Marcel Vigneron 

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Pomegranate Blueberry Spherification (Amuse Bouche)

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Hamachi Sashimi: Espelette, Momo Chan, Kumquat, Salicornia

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Dayboat Scallop, Cauliflower Couscous, Kinome, Seaweed

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Langostine Ravioli: Tom Kai, Avocado Wrapped Mango, Petite Basil, Basil Seeds, Coconut Milk Powder

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Lyonaise Salad: Frisee, “Nesting” Egg, Bacon, Sherry Vinaigrette, Endive

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Broth being poured over MisoHoney Black Cod, Nasturtium textures, Sesame oil powder

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
MisoHoney Black Cod, Nasturtium textures, Sesame oil powder

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Vadouvan Lamb: Flavors of Tzatziki, Lavosh, Pickled Onion, Sumac

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Grass Fed “Corned Beef”: Sous vide short rib, Textures of Corn, Saul’s Pastrami, Black Trumpets

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Souffle, Green Chartreuse with Orange Peel ice Cream with Almond Struesel

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Tiny chocolate curry and passion fruit Macaroons

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Cubed Vanilla Marshmallows

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Cocktail: “Coke in Manhattan” Bourbon, Carbonated Coca Cola Spherification (so fun!)

Marcel Vigneron at Hatchi, MyLastBite
Popcorn cooked in liquid nitrogen (aka “Dragon’s Breath”)

BreadBar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310 277 3770

Dining Date: 12/17/09
At our table: Charles from 1HundredMiles, Robert, Andrew, Bob from TheBaubShow, Hanh from HungryHungryHanh, Charles from @EpicureImports, Chef Ben Bailly from Petrossian

Check BreadBar’s website for upcoming Hatchi events

More of my visits to Hatchi dinners

At the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comFollow
@MarcelVigneron on Twitter

Marcel’s Bio on Top Chef


Marcel Caters for Exposed Book Launch Event w/ Jessica Alba

Chef Ben Bailly, Petrossian

The Bazaar by Jose Andres

Marcel’s autograph for my niece (& nephew too)

Check back soon for website info & details on Marcel’s Modern Global Catering Company

More Hatchi Photos on Flickr


Filed under Eating Out, Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Hot Chefs

Petrossian [1 & 2]

Petrossian Restaurant has been on my “to do” list for quite a while, and thanks to the money-saving motivation of “Dine LA Restaurant Week”, I finally got my first taste a few days ago.

Dinner was just $44 for three courses (each), but Peter and I ended up trying a few more dishes (compliments of manager Christopher Klapp and chef Benjamin Bailly). In the end we shared NINE courses (dessert included) and a lovely bottle of Malbec that our server recommended.

Petrossian, MyLastBite.comWhen chef Bailly first came to our table, I mistakenly thought he was another young server. At just 27 years old, he’s been running Petrossian’s kitchen for the past six months.

His previous jobs included: Sous Chef at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas, Chef de Partie at Robuchon Paris, and Commis de Cuisine in the Monaco Robuchon outpost. Now I have to say, that is some serious kitchen experience supporting this French chef’s sculpted and gorgeous face!

After our fantastic meal, Chef Bailly took us on a tour of the kitchen, then a quick browse through the gourmet boutique where we met his equally gorgeous girlfriend, Anna. It turns out it was the chef’s night off, and he came in specifically to say hello.

Did I mention that he’s not only talented and handsome, but generous and sweet too?

What we ate:

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Foie Gras Salad – Haricots verts, toasted walnut, truffle vinaigrette
(On Dine LA Menu: Appetizer)

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Black Truffle Mac & Cheese – Orrechiette, bacon, parmesan
(On Dine LA Menu: Appetizer)

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Braised Short Ribs – Yukon gold mashed potato, burgundy sauce
(On Dine LA Menu: Entree)

Petrossian, MyLastBite.comNapoleon Tartare – Hand sliced steak tartare with layer of caviar
(On Dine LA Menu: Entree)

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Foie Gras Creme Brulée (so good we scraped the bowl)

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Sautéed Calamari: Spanish chorizo, artichokes, preserved lemon $14 
Blinis & Caviar, Transmontanus caviar, Salmon roe $18

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Vanilla Panna Cotta, White Peach Espuma
Sicilian Pistachio Creme Brulée
(Both on Dine LA Menu: Dessert)

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Boutique: They not only sell the world’s best caviar but also smoked fish, foie gras, truffles, chocolates, candies and much more. We went home with a box of sweets and a hankering to return to Petrossian very soon!

Update: Visit #2 to Petrossian on 10/12/09 I loved it so much I gathered a group to eat there a few days later!

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Truffle Butter (I had to eat some with a spoon!) Visit #2

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Chilled Soups: Cantaloupe and Borsht. Visit #2 

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Seared Scallops, Butternut squash, Bacon Emulsion. Visit #2

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Our table’s order of Napoléon Tartare (hand sliced steak tartare with layer of caviar). Visit #2

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Crispy Shrimp “papillotte” with Passion fruit, sweet chilli ginger sauce. Visit #2 (I could have eaten TEN of these!)

Petrossian, MyLastBite.com
Petrossian Roe Sampler: Caviar, trout, salmon roe served with blinis and crème fraiche (and yes, we were all photographing the food!) Visit #2

Dine LA Restaurant Week

Petrossian, MyLastBite.comPetrossian
321 North Robertson Boulevard
(one block north of Beverly Boulevard)
West Hollywood, CA 90048
(310) 271-0576


Dining Date: 10/6/09

Petrossian visits #3 & #4

Follow Petrossian on Twitter

Los Angeles Magazine Review

Chef Bailly at Petrossian, MyLastBite.comPetrossian LA Magazine Video

Benjamin Bailly on Chef Database

Joël Robuchon (official site)

All my Petrossian photos on Flickr

Petrossian Boutique & Cafe on Urbanspoon


Filed under Eating Out