French lessons: Report from the OFF culinary festival OFF in Deauville

From April 19 to April 24, the French Omnivore Food Festival will be held in Moscow. At this time, ten famous chefs will conduct master classes at several venues in the capital, five of which work in Moscow. The organizer of the Moscow version of the festival, Natalia Palacios, especially for Life around, went to Deauville and found out how the last OFF festival was held.


Normandy, Deauville - the most famous resort of the French bourgeoisie, just two hours drive from Paris. In addition to the resort beauty, the city is famous for its casinos and the festival of American cinema. It is impossible to forget about the casino: these are the most prominent buildings in the city, the beach booths with the names of American actors reminiscent of the festival, on the rails of which tourists do not get tired of taking pictures: who is next to the name of Shirley McLain and who is with Marlon Brando.

Normandy, Deauville

Deauville, stretching along the sea, especially its coastal part, at this time of year resembles a phantom city: Norman-style two-story mansions - the summer residence of the bourgeoisie - are mostly capitally closed for the winter, some are even for sale (out of season and weekends the number of dealers is 4,000 people - not even a city, but a settlement, - however, in a tourist peak it can grow up to 50,000). The public walking on the beach is more and more of the hotels that strewn the local coast. At breakfast at the Normandy Hotel, there is a complete feeling of the combined dining room of two guest houses: for wealthy elderly people and their children. Elegant men and women aged have a meal accompanied by equally expensively dressed grandchildren, some of them already in riding boots, so as not to be late for the cordon. Among all this polished audience in the ironed white collars with the naked eye you can calculate the chefs who arrived at the gastronomic festival. They are not included in the prevailing age groups of the hotel, they wear stretched jeans and sweaters, sometimes even simple t-shirts and plaid shirts.


“Since the kitchen began its festival, its imagination has become richer,” says the slogan Omnivore Food Festival (OFF). Six years ago, in contrast to the conservatism of French gastronomy, a little admired by itself, journalist Luc Dubansche decided to organize a festival of young and fresh creative cuisine, sometimes violating the usual canons. The idea of ​​the festival was to stir up respectable, universally recognized chefs, providing them with an arena for self-expression along with young, little-known talents. The last one has something to say, Dubansche believed, but there is no means and opportunity to do so. At the first festival, the world-famous chef Ferrand Adria spoke with the young Danes René Redzepi, who were unknown to anyone at that time. A few years later, Redzepi pushed Ferran, replacing him in first place in the well-known British rating of "50 of the best restaurants in the world."

"Among all this polished audience with the naked eye you can calculate the chefs who arrived at the gastronomic festival"

Luc Dubansche basically did not want to hold a festival in Paris. It was necessary for people to make an effort, arriving in a place far from civilization, where for two or three days they would give themselves up to a gastronomic performance, without being distracted by the life of the capital and other hustle and bustle. And so it happened. In any case, except for sea promenades, at this time of the year there is nothing more to do in half-empty Deauville. Unless to go to a casino. At the same time, the festival has no gastronomic affiliation with Deauville, and the first two OFF festivals were generally held in Le Havre, for the same reason: Le Havre is a new city built from scratch on the ruins of World War II.


The OFF program is quite saturated. The festival is divided into two venues: one is reserved for watch master classes of chefs demonstrating a salty cuisine, and the other for confectioners. Between them there is a food mini-exhibition where you can taste organic wine or honey gingerbread, flip through a beautiful cookbook or analyze current trends in dishes, accidentally encountering some famous gastronomic figure. As at any other festival, it is best to first draw up your own plan of interesting performances and run nervously between the two venues. Or spit and enjoy fully any one performance. In addition, there are so many people at some workshops that there are no empty seats in the hall for 800 people, and since they left, then you have to sit on the steps in the aisles.

Speech by Ivan Shishkin, chef of the Moscow cafe Delicatessen at the OFF festival in Deauville


The festival was opened by local Norman chefs who, with the ease of an experienced magician, performed miracles with local products. Then, Chinese chef Andre Chang from Singapore demonstrated his signature cuisine at the junction of French techniques (after all, 17 years of work in famous restaurants in France) and the influences of his native Asia. Andre explained the recipe for dried onion soup, sliced ​​cucumber tartar with a green apple and, pickling everything in sea water, explained what sea grapes (a type of seaweed) are and how to make marmalade from seaweed. His smoked mushrooms were sealed in something resembling a tea bag, of which one could infuse broth or swallow it like that. All these cookery findings were examples of "octophilosophy" - the philosophy of the chef, based on the eight taste sensations of man. Everything is subordinate to her in the Singapore restaurant Andre.

"His smoked mushrooms were sealed into something resembling a tea bag."

All dishes prepared on stage can, unfortunately, only be seen. But the performance itself is an exciting sight. Each chef enters a brightly lit scene to the sound of fanfare and thunderous applause. He talks about himself, about his kitchen, often showing a small clip about his restaurant. The camera coarsely displays the chef's hands on a huge screen, subtly twisting the ravioli from black radish, or highlights the smallest details of the ingredients on a plate, up to droplets of clear oil. The connection with the audience is incredible. The silence of expectation is replaced by a storm of applause. When Andre Chang with a swift movement of his hand expertly thinly sliced ​​a scallop literally on the fly, the audience breathed out in unison.


Advanced chefs come to Deauville on OFF to look at young talents, new techniques, fashion products or demonstrate their achievements. You sit, exchange impressions with a neighbor in the armchair, and the next day you see him on stage. A party of the international fraternity of gastronomic journalists hunts for the trends of the moment, periodically meeting at the breaks and cynically or enthusiastically discussing what they saw on stage. The most responsible viewer is foodies, ordinary people who are seriously interested in cuisine. They honestly do not miss a single master class. An American admirer of cuisine, who specially came to the festival from Italy, where he works at the moment, stubbornly caught my eye throughout the event. There are no random people here. Without accreditation to the festival, you can only go by buying a ticket worth 80 euros. Not to mention that you also need to get to Deauville.

 The land in which Australian Ben Shury (Attica restaurant, Melbourne) baked potatoes for several hours


The second day of the festival began for me in the shared kitchen, where I arrived, getting up early to watch the first Russian festival participant Ivan Shishkin from Delicatessen. Ivan was already there from 7 in the morning: he rolled out the dough for his wontons and baked buns for hamburgers, for the sake of this, on the eve of this, he left at the very height of the festival party.

At 7 o’clock it turned out that Ivan was already the third chief working in the kitchen, and by the time I arrived at nine, smoke was already a rocker.

In the kitchen, the chefs make (marinate, pre-cook, sculpt) preparations with which they strike the stage with their final dish during their 40-minute performance.

Ivan Shishkin brought black bread, mullet, pickles, apple marshmallow, cherry tincture and cone jam to Deauville from Russia. Everything is made in Russia.

The organizers came up with a brilliant idea - to make the behind-the-scenes kitchen open, giving the visitors of the salon an incredible sight, albeit without a host’s comments, but no less worthy. Australians, Scandinavians, Asians, French, Italians, Americans - all work side by side in a single kitchen, borrowing scales from one another, then a pan. It is interesting that the national temperament of chefs sometimes manifested itself in their style of cooking and organization of the workplace. The Scandinavians were visible from afar: the Danish chef Rasmus Kofoed, (restaurant Geranium, Copenhagen) calmly cooked without removing the scarf tied over the cook's jacket, using ingredients neatly laid out on drawers on the table and under the table. Due to the constantly used liquid nitrogen, the Scandinavian sous-chefs covered the fog of the nearby Italian Giovanni Passerini. The nitrogen boss didn’t interfere with the Italian chef; he determined the temperature in the pan by ear, periodically lowering his head, and gaily juggled vegetables before putting them into the broth.

"Due to the constantly used liquid nitrogen, the Scandinavian sou-chefs are covered in fogworking nearby Italian "

Ivan Shishkin concentratedly rolled out the dough with a crumb of black bread brought from his homeland. Mullet, pickles, apple marshmallow, cone jam and cherry tincture were also brought with them. Everything is made in Russia. Near the stove, Ivan faced the Australian chef Ben Shury, who broke a white-toothed smile of a surfer and wished Ivan good luck before the performance.

By 10 a.m. people were already walking in droves.


On the confectionery scene, the famous French chef Thierry Marx spoke about the dessert of the future. It will be low in calories. In support of his words, Marx prepared a dessert consisting of 88 calories: steamed puff pastry, steamed jelly from apples and orange juice, mascarpone vanilla cream based on soy milk, wafers with crispy currant-raspberry powder, the secret of which It has not been disclosed, as it has not yet been patented.

On the main stage, the cooks imposed the main tendency of the moment - the maximum use of local products, albeit from the first glance and not so delicious.

The Danish Kofoed in his unchanged scarf prepared a spruce dessert decorated for convincing with a sprig of a Christmas tree. Frenchman Christophe Dufault (Les Bacchanales) from the southern town of Vence admitted that he collects wild herbs and flowers for his kitchen every day for about an hour.

Ivan Shishkin supported the trend by making a beetroot appetizer in vanilla sunflower oil with orange sauce and three types of the aforementioned wontons stuffed with fried pickles, cabbage and millet, as well as a mullet burger with pike caviar. For dessert, Ivan offered apple marshmallow, dried persimmon and ricotta from baked milk with jam from young cones. Assistant Marin had to give jam behind the scenes, as it made a lasting impression on the girl, especially after Ivan told the etymology of his last name from the scene.

Australian Ben Shury (Attica restaurant, Melbourne), who is rumored to be the best chef of his continent, not only brought along a dozen or so untranslatable local herbs, also grabbed a box of his native land. In it, he baked potatoes for many hours, appealing to the tradition of the ancient Maori tribes. Maori baked food in earthen pits on coals. And the potatoes performed by Ben, even in Deauville, were saturated with the unique aroma of the homeland. Another chef from the other hemisphere used mimosa flowers in his dish. Also neglecting the achievements of progress, the 23-year-old Swedish chef Magnus Nilson from a town 1,000 km north of Stockholm baked a certain free bird from his native fields on stones in a fur coat made of real moss.

"Australian Ben Shury brought with him a box of native land. In it, he for many hoursbaked potatoes "

Even during the break, I had to dine, drinking organic wine, in an impromptu restaurant, at the rude tables, where pressed straw bricks served as chairs. And in general, it seemed that the international cook fraternity was already tired of looking for exotic products or embarking on molecular experiments. They experimented with trivial products: baked onions at low temperatures and smoked egg yolks, like the French chef Bertrand Grebot, burned green onions with a burner, like Sven Chartier, roasted milk cream like Magnus Nilson to a golden crust.

And perhaps the conclusion from all this is completely different: for those who have something to say, what is at hand is enough. Some have oysters, some have buckwheat - now everyone is equal. And it’s good that this is happening in bourgeois Deauville: the contrast is more noticeable. The contrast between the ideas of many about great gastronomy as something inaccessible and a reality in which everyone who has ideas in his head, technology in his hands and the desire to say something different is equal. And the most amazing thing in all this is that such a gastronomic riot of fantasy can be appropriate in any city in the world - at least in Deauville, at least in New York, at least in Copenhagen. In April of this year, OFF will be held for the first time in Moscow. Some chefs who are going to come to Moscow want to cook from what is in Russia "their own" and "at hand" in April.

Text: Natalia Palacios

Watch the video: Winston Churchill. Wikipedia audio article (November 2019).

Popular Posts

Category Food, Next Article

Exhibition in "Yule", a film about Gauguin and the chamber choir in the Arsenal

Exhibition in "Yule", a film about Gauguin and the chamber choir in the Arsenal

Concerts On the photo: "Thank you" "Hot Tour" The concert will combine the performances of three Moscow bands at once. Thanks group presents the album Forever, one of the main characters of the capital's indie scene, Lucidvox, who mixes psychedelics, noise and neo-ethno so successfully, will play songs from Smoke, and Knights Knights are the only musicians of their kind to perform ring punk and the new Russian rave at the same time - will present their debut album "Tiger Force".
Read More
James Blake at the Palace of Pioneers, an eco-exhibition at the Garage and a walk along the Arbat with the Memorial

James Blake at the Palace of Pioneers, an eco-exhibition at the Garage and a walk along the Arbat with the Memorial

James Blake at the Palace of Pioneers or Primal Scream in the Tula Region, a house set from The Martinez Brothers, or tinsel dancing under Tommy Cash - and dozens more options for spending the weekend. Bosco Fresh Fest Concerts and Festivals Bosco Fresh Fest If last year many complained that Bosco moved to the distant Skolkovo, then this year the situation has greatly improved - the festival will be held at the Palace of Pioneers on Vorobyovy Gory.
Read More
May 16-18

May 16-18

Friday May 16 Mostly Cloudy Day: +14 At night: +3 SATURDAY May 17 Clear Day: +18 Night: +6 Sunday May 18 Clear Day: +21 At night: +7 Friday 12:00 English Breakfast Exhibition Works are being taken to the exhibition of contemporary British art several artists, including Alice Anderson, a favorite of the Saatchi gallery, Joe King and Rosie Padlow, masters of audiovisual installations, Embu Sayal-Bennett, a constructivist, and Olga Yurgenson, a well-known Russian viewer at an exhibition at the Hermitage Youth Center.
Read More
Lebowski Bar Opening, Poet Duel and Easter Concerts

Lebowski Bar Opening, Poet Duel and Easter Concerts

Film events In the photo: a shot from the film Tamara Screening of the film Tamara Franco-Belgian film about weight problems The tape tells about the unpopular girl Tamara, who decides to like the most prominent guy at school. Despite the simple plot, Tamara is a film about overcoming yourself and your complexes.
Read More