Dame Judith Dunbar Hines orchestrated the evening and Chef Dominique Tougne punctuated the discussion with a series of tastings that were significant in this engaging work of historical fiction. When Judith asked Chef Tougne what he thought Escoffier might say if he showed up in his kitchen today, he quipped, “Hola, como estas!”
The tastings of the evening were perfectly synchronized with the literary discussion. The evening began with beautifully simple bread and butter. Scallops offered a taste of the sea and evoked discussion of the connection between foods their origin. Unique preparations of eggs and aligot were served to support discussions of the intimacy cooking inspired between Escoffier and his wife Delphine at the beginning of their life together and with the infirmities of their final days together.
The personality of Escoffier portrayed in the book was that of a passionate and deeply flawed man of the times in which he lived, and there was no lack of discussion on the emotions evoked by this novel. The conversation continued over dinner where many of those who had come to enjoy the discussion and tasting chose to stay.
This was a first in the new series — Dames Who Read. Don’t miss the next event, The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones at Lao Beijing, Monday, May 6th.