Published on February 1, 2009
My trips to France 1998-2007
My name is Andy Floyd and I love the country of France. Why because there is no place else on the planet that is so devoted to the world of food, wine and gastronomy. A meal is very important here and everyone is passionate about what they put into their stomach. This photo essay is a compilation of some of my favorite places and people (some who are deceased) who have played a significant role in my culinary life.
Philippe Aleosse, one of the finest affineur (cheese curer) in Paris giving us a tour of his cheese caves
A couple of French butchers posing with some lamb racks in the meat hall at Rungis the largest wholesale market in the world
There is nothing quite like a football field of hanging meat. Here are whole carcasses of veal from loz è re and behind whole lamb
The way game gets delivered in France
The only way to get around Rungis vegetable markets
Robert Brunel one of my closest friends in France. He runs two restaurants in Avignon and has visited me on several occasions in the U.S. Without his help and his amazing network of friends I could not have created such a top notch France program for budding chefs.
A mountain of salt at La Baleine salt production in the town of Aigues Mortes. Aigues Morte was the departure point for the crusades
The Cigale, a type of locust, is the symbol of Provence. You are supposed to hang one at the entrance to your home for good luck
l’Universit é du Vin overlooking the village of Suze la Rousse. The upper half moon deck is connected to the kitchen we worked in
Michel Depardon teaching Lisa Dawkins the fine art of sauté
The view out the dishwashing window of the castle of Suze la Rousse. The road in the distance eventually lands in Italy. The view takes the pain out of doing dishes
Another sunny lunch on the balcony of the Suze castle
Cynthia in the coup de feu in the Suze kitchen
Seared sea bass Michel’s eggplant dish
Michel Depardon facing a Bandol and C ô te de Provence wine tasting
Noel Autexier Deceased in 2007 His dog Beauduc also deceased His Banon cheese
The courtyard of Suze la Rousse The entrance to the kitchen and the staircase of last hope
Bernard Cortes from la Fromagerie du Comtat in Carpentras. One of the most passionate cheese curers I know. He is making a presentation about cheese to our students
Spring time in Provence peppers the countryside with poppies Grenache vines growing from the famous galets roul é s of Ch â teau Neuf du Pape on the Beauscastel property
Beaucastel Winery always the highlight of our month
One of the reasons the visits to Beaucastel were so memorable were due to Fabrice Langlois. Fab would captivate our students imagination with his perfectly orchestrated presentation and would have all of us salivating for a taste of Beaucastel I can still hear his comparison of each varietal to an instrument in an orchestra in my head. And he did not disappoint when it came time to taste.
A torrential rain storm off the deck of the chateau
My good friend Joachim Autard the manager of the wine store La bouteillerie du Palais des Papes in Avignon giving a lecture and wine tasting on the wines of the C ô tes du Rh ô ne
The produce that makes the terroir of Provence so spectacular
A bread display put together by Auzet bakery in Cavaillon
Michel Depardon working his magic at the vegetable stands in les Halles in Avignon
Michel Merletto the charcutier of St. Andiol holding up his sausages One of our students performing the kiss the pig ritual
Oyster farm day at the Bassin de Thau in Bouzigue Christophe Fournier showing proper oyster shucking technique
Barrels of Noilly Pratt Vermouth aging in the sun at Marseillan
Michel and Fatima at Sette e Mezzo Too many good times to recount
All the ingredients for a Bouillabaisse on another sunny day at Michel’s farm
Paul Bocuse, Gallit Sammon and me at our celebration lunch at Collonges
Nothing quite like a meal at Bocuse You feel like he is watching you from every object in the room
In a roomful of cocoa beans at the Valrhona chocolate factory
Belon oyster and Macon Village tasting at les Halles in Lyon
“ avec le Cabran on est toujours content” Michel Depardon’s favorite wine
Michel Depardon died in March 2006. He was the cowboy of Provence and loved the US especially Montana. He was one of the most irreverent people I’ve known and no one was beyond his ridicule. The more serious the person the more prime the target. He was also one of the most generous. I would especially love to watch him work the dining area at Sette e Mezzo. He was in his element there. Pick up a joke at one table, pass it on to the next, run into the kitchen to prepare a quick dish, pick up a bottle of ros é on the way back and always a little bit of grappa to rinse out the espresso cup. He showed me part of Provence I would never have found on my own and introduced me to people that continue to be friends. I will never be able to return to Provence without thinking of him.
The heirloom tomato booth at the Villeneuve les Avignon market
The vertical garden at les Halles Avignon
The view off my balcony in Avignon
A few of the new dishes we started working on. Nathan putting together an amuse platter
The pont du Gard in the perfect light
Michel Receveur, a culinary teacher of 30 years and a Maitre Cuisinier de France joined our instructional staff after Michel Depardon passed away. He is a born teacher and our students loved him. Watching him cook was like watching Escoffier’s son cook. Classic all the way, but extremely flavorful Here he is preparing some girolles and a roasted pork rack
An American chef from New Orleans named Jon Chiri also joined the ranks from time to time. He has lived in France for the last ten years and has worked his way through some of the top restaurants in the area.
Another amazing pastry talent joined our team. Olivier Lemauviot, had worked at la Mirande and is a graduate of the Valrhona pastry school. His passion for dessert and bread is contagious. His carefree and creative energy is inspirational.
The A Team France Jon Chiri, Olivier Lemauviot, Andy Floyd, Elizabeth Perreault and Michel Receveur
Classic Tian vs. Modern Millefeuille
I would be remiss if I were not to include reference to Gallit Sammon. Many of the pictures in this presentation were taken by her. Michel Depardon would call her petite vague or wavy. If she came up with a dish, he would write it up on the board as sauce wavy or à la wavy. She is one of the most optimistic people I know, a great chef and an excellent teacher.
Here is an olive tree guarding the Pont du Gard that was around when Jesus died. A reminder that some things are timeless.
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