The Tahoe Ridge Winery & Bistro in Minden and bistro Head Chef Howard Jachens hosted a culinary experience May 12 featuring internationally renowned Chef Katherine Frelon.
The afternoon began at noon with a warm welcome from Chef Katherine and Chef Howard as their intimate group of 16 guests arrived.
Chef Katherine introduced herself, sharing her cookery background, beginning in her native UK, and then moving on to work as chef on the luxury hotel barges through the canals of France and private chateau engagements before opening her own cookery school, La Ferme de la Lochere in Burgundy.
The gourmet luncheon featured a fine assortment of Frelon’s mouth-watering dishes, each one appropriately paired with wines from Burgundy.
Guests sat at the bar around Chef Katherine as she prepared dishes from her forthcoming book “Shop, Cook, Eat,” explaining her personal approach of first shopping for the finest and freshest, locally grown ingredients available before she cooks. As Chef Katherine prepared her own version of the French classic Quiche Lorraine, a fragrant orange dressing to accompany a green bean and arugula salad, and a colorful couscous tabouleh, she demonstrated a variety of cooking techniques and shared her personal philosophies on shopping, cooking and menu planning.
“I must have gained 2 pounds just watching her make it,” Edda Kope said during her quiche prep.
Courteous bistro staff served a sparkling cremant de bourgogne (Burgundy’s sparkling wine), with Chef Katherine’s fresh from the oven gougeres, a delightful cheesy Burgundian treat traditionally enjoyed during wine tasting to cleanse the palate. Guests then donned aprons and gathered around the u-shaped bar for a unique and intimate culinary learning experience.
Guests moved on to the warmth of the kitchen, savoring wonderful aromas wafting from the stove and oven. They watched intently as Chef Katherine sauteed escargots in a creamy mushroom sauce, explaining her techniques and tips as she went. Returning to the dining room, guests settled in to enjoy the escargots, which was served in a delicate pastry shell and covered in a generous portion of the creamy sauce to allow dipping with freshly baked French breadsticks.
Frelon then sliced the perfectly prepared quiche for each guest individually, as they filled their plates with tantalizing, colorful French bean salad with orange dressing, mozzarella and heirloom tomato salad, and the lovely couscous tabouleh. The luncheon ended with an impossibly scrumptious apricot bread pudding, a perfect finish to the unique and amazing menu. The event concluded with laughter and lively conversation as Chef Katherine and Chef Howard honored guests’ requests to sign their aprons as a parting gift, and anticipation of an encore event planned at the Bistro next year.
“What a great day, said guest Kathy Slavin. “We enjoyed it all.”
Chef Katherine’s upcoming new cookery book, “Shop. Cook. Eat.” is scheduled for release by Curran Pendleton Press later this year.