Crazy times, but cooking with Clem is ‘pas de problème’

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Les Bistronomes chef Clement Chauvin… “People can cook with me, but from home.”

Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON finishes cooking a three-course meal at home from fine-dining restaurant Les Bistronomes, with the help of the chef online.

“Unpack the basket, read the card, grab un verre de vin (just one – remember, you have to head to the kitchen), and watch Clem explain how to execute the remaining steps for finishing off the dishes.”

CHEF Clement Chauvin is adamant his finished food doesn’t belong in delivery plastic containers. Enter COVID-19. Now what?

Clement, who runs fine-dining restaurant Les Bistronomes, declares, in his French accent, “Pas de problème. People can cook with me, but from home.”

The concept behind “Cooking with Clem” is refreshingly different during these crazy times. A three-course meal, partially prepped at Les Bistronomes, is delivered in a basket with a recipe card and a link to a YouTube cooking video. Unpack the basket, read the card, grab un verre de vin (just one – remember, you have to head to the kitchen), and watch Clem explain how to execute the remaining steps for finishing off the dishes. Plate and dine on restaurant quality food at home, staying safe and saving lives.

All sound too much? It’s not. Indeed, it’s a fabulous way to break the monotony, a delightful idea if you’re celebrating a special occasion, and a great way to learn new cooking techniques.

Here’s the deal. Each dinner package for two ($120) includes l’amuse bouche (freshly baked baguette and smoked tomato butter), l’entrée, le plat principal and le dessert. There’s plenty of food, so if you want to add extras at home you could easily feed more.

Charcuterie entrée… includes pork rillette, duck liver, pickled cherry compote parfait and goat cheese and tomato crackers. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The charcuterie entrée was wonderful and includes Clem’s signature house pork rillette, duck liver, pickled cherry compote parfait and goat cheese and tomato crackers. But, wait, there’s more – Spanish prosciutto, Wagyu bresaola, French sausage and Sopresso salami. We plated, pretending we’d been on MasterChef, and got stuck in.

The three available mains are duck à l’orange, beef Wellington and Chateaubriand.

Duck a l’orange… with pickled red cabbage, orange and duck jus and citrus segments. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The duck dish comes with two breasts and two legs in a vacuum-sealed bag, pickled red cabbage, orange and duck jus and citrus segments. Place the bag in simmering water, remove, coat with cornflour and place in a frypan with foaming butter to colour and crisp. Follow instructions to finish the sauce and cabbage and dine away.

Beef Wellington… cook in the oven and enjoy with witlof salad, roasted potatoes and red wine jus, all provided. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

For the Beef Wellington, create a yolk mixture, brushing the pastry twice and scoring (the video provides tips). Cook in the oven and enjoy with witlof salad, roasted potatoes and red wine jus, all provided.

Port poached pear… a perfect ending to Cooking with Clem. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Each package comes with two desserts – French cheeses with dried fruit and crackers, port-poached pear and shortcrust biscuit, or white chocolate mousse. It was the cheese and pear for us and, as with the mains, all of the food was amazing with the dessert a perfect ending to Cooking with Clem.

To order, call 0416 922043 or 6248 8119, specify the date and method of transport (order delivered between 4pm-6pm or pickup at Campbell Shops from 3pm-4pm). Order by noon for same day feasting. Wine is for sale by the bottle. More details, including delivery areas at lesbistronomes.net.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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