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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Painting Provence part 7 ...Personal Chef Extraordinaire!

'Bon Appetit'          8x6       pastel          ©Karen Margulis
available $125
I happen to be a terrible cook. But I have a fascination with all things food. My favorite shows are anything cooking/chef related and I have tremendous admiration for those who master the fine art of cooking. So when our group of five decided to have a meal prepared by a private chef at our home in France I was filled with anticipation! And we were not disappointed. 

The evening actually began months before we left for France. A chef was recommended to us and Tena did the correspondence and made the arrangements. Our chef would be chef Julien Lafoix. You can follow him on Instagram @julien_lafoix_chef_a_domicile. Chef Julien sent us suggested menus (in French). We all voted and it was unanimous. We would have lobster and lavender ice-cream for dessert. None of could remember what else was on the menu so it would be a surprise.

Our lobster in waiting!
Our dinner was scheduled for our second week of the trip. It was perfect timing. We were all relaxed and settled and it was Tena's birthday! Julien arrived in the late afternoon with the food and a special flower arrangement for Tena. He unloaded his supplies and got to work. We sat on the terrace off the kitchen enjoying wine and cheese while we watched him prepare our dinner.  I just had to take photos. The light was perfect and I could imagine the paintings that would come. I managed to get a quick video of chef describing how he bought our lobster early in the morning in Avignon and how the sauce had been cooking all day. Click on it below.

Chef Julien at work

And he was an entertainer too! :)

At the appointed hour and as scheduled Chef Julien invited us into the dining room. He had set the table and lit the candles in the chandelier. It was the perfect setting for the meal to come.

Julien set a lovely table and lit the candles in the chandelier. It was magical!
We began the meal with a delicious chilled soup. Chef Julien presented each course with a description but I have forgotten exactly what was in each dish. All I know is that the soup was amazing. It was a chilled gazpacho with a warm delicately  fried goat cheese topped with fresh herbs from his garden. Oh my!  It was heavenly.

Gazpacho and fried goat cheese with fresh herbs from the chef's garden 
Next came the main course....the lobster. It was artfully presented of course! The sauce was perfect. Julien said the sauce was like caviar. He had some leftover which he left for us to use for another meal. It was too good to waste!  We also had snow peas and broccoli rabe served with a coconut dipping sauce. It was all decadent and delicious. We were in heaven.

Lobster in a decadent sauce

Broccoli rabe with a coconut dipping sauce
Then came dessert. For some reason I didn't get a photo of the dessert. It might have something to do with the after dinner drink chef Julien brought. It was something made from Thyme.....for the digestion of course! It was powerful stuff and I actually only had a sip. But dessert was special. chef Julien prepared wonderful little cakes with lavender ice-cream from his grandmother's recipe. It was the perfect ending for a wonderful meal.

You only need a thimble full....it's for the digestion!

The group posed with chef Julien. I am on the right.

And for breakfast....leftover cakes and delicious French butter
About today's painting: I rarely paint figures but I just had to try to paint chef Julien. It was fun! I didn't quite capture his likeness but I think I got the gesture OK. I will do more. This one is 8x6 on a piece of Wallis warm mist seconds.

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