In De Wulf - Dranouter, Belgium

 

Photo Credit: Piet De Kersgieter

Chef:  In 1979 Kobe Desramaults’ parents bought a farm and started up a little bistro. After a few years, they added extra rooms and created an inn. He grew up around food but wasn’t interested in making of life of it. When he was eighteen, his mother sent him to a restaurant apprenticeship and this sparked his culinary interest. He spent a few years working at restaurants around the world (including Oud Sluis), but at 23 he headed back home. His mother was financially struggling and she had decided to sell the restaurant, but Kobe convinced her to give him one year to turn things around. He managed to help his mother get out of debt and turn her French-style bistro into the success that it is today.

Restaurant:  Among the world's most noted destination restaurants, In De Wulf has a few rooms upstairs for those that come for a culinary adventure and an overnight stay.  In de Wulf’s philosophy is to create an experience that is honest about who and where they are, the constraints of their philosophy are both their biggest challenge and motivating force. Their kitchen is therefore sometimes brutal, sometimes soft, but always natural. The Michelin-starred restaurant is located in Dranouter, Belgium, a few hundred yards from the French border.

 

 

 

Butter: The butter that In de Wulf serves is pretty exceptional. It is made in the city of Mons by a diary farmer named Alex Godart and his wife. They breed Holstein cattle and only produce butter for the locals. The fresh cream is matured for one week in the cellar, this gives it a lovely cheesy flavor. After it arrives at In de Wulf, they store it in the cheese refrigerator at 11 c°, on roasted hay that’s been slightly moistened with buttermilk. They keep the butter there for another two weeks. Some mold from the white cheese begins to take form on the surface, and that’s when they start serving the butter.


Kobe Desramaults closes the doors to In de Wulf in December 2016.  Though In de Wulf is closing, You can still enjoy Desramaults' cooking Bistro De Vitrine and De Superette.


De Superette
Guldenspoorstraat 29, 9000 Gent, Belgium
+32 9 278 08 08 

De Superette website

De Vitrine
Brabantdam 134, 9000 Gent, Belgium
+32 9 336 28 08

De Vitrine website


In De Wulf
Wulvestraat 1
8951 Heuvelland (Dranouter), Belgium
0032 57 44 55 67

In De Wulf website



 

La Vie - Osnabrück, Germany

 

Restaurant:  After 10 years, Restauarnt La Vie has much to celebrate. Awarded three Michelin stars six years in succession, 19 Gault et Millau points, and top ratings in Feinschmecker, Gusto and other guides. Additional impressive statistics: 6,500 bottles of champagne served, 2,800 saddles of venison prepared, 225,000 pralines created, and no less than 880 hours worked in Ippenburg Castle kitchen garden. The gourmet restaurant lies in the heart of Osnabrück’s historic Old Town, opposite the town hall where the Peace of Westphalia was proclaimed in 1648.  Not only is the food exceptional in flavor, it is so beautifully plated that you could take a photo of it and hang it on the wall. 

Chef:  Chef Thomas Bühner has been one of Germany’s top chefs for over 20 years.  He has developed avant-garde, aromatic cuisine by utilizing his three-dimensional philosophy. First, Chef Bühner is convinced there is no more authentic and intense flavor than the original, pure flavor of a product. Second, his cuisine is dominated by his penchant for low-temperature cooking. His motto is “take your foot off the gas”, and by this he is not only referring to the time taken to prepare a dish but also to the temperature at which it is cooked. Third is the extensive range of his cuisine: rather than viewing his set menus as a collection of disparate courses, chef Bühner likens them to a symphony. “Sometimes the violin can be heard, at other times it is the oboe – but strong emotions are only ever aroused when the whole orchestra comes together.”

Butter: La Vie serves salted and unsalted French butter from Le Beurre Bordier. Waiters serve butter embossed with the La Vie logo on a small white porcelain trays with matching knifes. 

Chef Commentary:  “Butter really reminds me of my childhood.” Admits Chef Bühner. “When we visited my grandparents on their farm, they would always offer us rye bread with butter and Westfalian ham.”  (Westphalian ham is a ham produced from acorn-fed pigs raised in the forests of Westphalia, Germany. The resulting meat is dry cured and then smoked over a mixture of beechwood and juniper branches.) He fondly remembers this butter because at his parent’s house, they would only eat margarine. Chef Bühner admits that he has not touched margarine in over 35 years. However, he does think it is getting more difficult to find really good butter these days.


La Vie
Krahnstraße 1, 49074 Osnabrück, Germany
+49 541 331150

La Vie website



 

FIG - Charleston, South Carolina

 
fig_restaurant_charleston.jpg

Restaurant:  FIG, (Food Is Good), is a local neighborhood eatery located in the heart of downtown Charleston, serving seasonally-inspired cuisine with a commitment to using local and sustainable foods. FIG has a passion for pure flavor, quality ingredients, and for creating an atmosphere that is convivial, approachable, and a haven for people who simply love food. Warm hues, soft lighting and an unexpected quirkiness encourage guests to settle in, get comfortable, and have a great time.  

FIG has been consistently voted “Best Restaurant in Charleston” by Charleston City Paper readers and continues to be a favorite local destination.

fig_charleston.jpg

Chefs:  Mike Lata is Chef/Partner of FIG Restaurant, which he opened in 2003 with Partner Adam Nemirow. A native New Englander, Mike started his culinary career at an early age, working in kitchens in Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta and France before landing in Charleston in 1998.  Mike is a hands-on, self-taught chef who continues to delight making the most basic things delicious, creating food that is bright, uncomplicated and understated. Nominated in 2007 and 2008 for “James Beard Best Chef: Southeast,” Mike took home the award in 2009. Lata’s most recent culinary adventures include a classic oyster bar and seafood hall—The Ordinary—in the heart of the Charleston’s Upper King Design District.

Jason Stanhope is FIG’s Executive Chef.  Stanhope pursued a culinary degree at Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco and fell in love with the kitchen immediately.  While on a vacation to Charleston, Stanhope fell for the city and its rich epicurean history, and decided to move East and join the team at Mike Lata’s acclaimed FIG. Chef Stanhope has worked his way through the kitchen, starting as chef-tournant to his current position of executive chef, which earned him the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2015. 

Butter:  This is my first restaurant that doesn’t show the actual butter, and I love it.  A few years back, FIG hired local design firm, Stitch, to design new collateral and knick-knacks for the restaurant, and one of their projects was a butter overlay, letter pressed with a few of the different icons they used in other materials. FIG staff serve this butter at room temperature with the overlay on top. 


FIG
232 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 805-5900

Fig Website



 

Mural Room - Jackson Lake Lodge

 

Sometimes restaurants or chefs send me photos but don't send any details about their butter. I will be posting a few of these in the next few weeks.


Restaurant: Located in the Grand Teton National Park, in Moran, Wyoming, The Mural Room is one of several restaurants located in the Jackson Lake Lodge. The Mural Room offers a culinary experience with a twist, which defines Rocky Mountain cuisine that is the perfect complement to the views. Many say the panoramic views of the Teton Range from the Mural Dining Room are the finest in any National Park. Diners enjoy views of wide expansive fields surrounding a blue mountain lake, with moose, elk, and bison wandering close by.

Chef:  Chef Joshua Conrad has over 15 years experience in fine dining and back-of-house management at destination resort hotels and restaurants.  He is currently oversees five Grand Teton Lodge Company kitchens at 5 different properties and 18 dining rooms. Chef Conrad offers local buffalo, sustainable seafood that includes local trout, wild caught salmon and all natural organic beef—all prepared fresh at the on-site butcher shop, along with warm bread rolls from the onsite bakery.

Butter: Mural Room waiters serve butter molded into a moose shape, fitting for the location!


Mural Room
Jackson Lake Lodge
Grand Teton National Park
101 Jackson Lake Lodge Rd, Moran, WY 83013
(307) 543-2811

Jackson Lake Lodge website



 

Quince - San Francisco

 

Restaurant:  Recognized with three Michelin Stars and a coveted four stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, Quince restaurant serves exceptional Italian and French-inspired, locally-sourced Northern California cuisine. Quince is located in a historic 1907 brick building in San Francisco’s downtown Jackson Square neighborhood. Next door, Quince’s sister restaurant, Cotogna (meaning “Quince” in Italian) serves rustic Italian trattoria cuisine in a comfortably stylish setting.

Chef:  As executive chef and owner of Quince and Cotogna restaurants, Michael Tusk is known for his approach to both Italian and French regional cuisine.

While studying Art History at Tulane University, he took his first cooking job and was immediately drawn to the industry. He enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and began his journey in the culinary industry. Chef Tusk worked in restaurants throughout France, Italy, and in the Bay Area before opening Quince with his wife Lindsay. In 2011, Tusk was honored with the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Pacific.”

Butter:  The Quince pastry department makes the butter in-house with buffalo milk and crème fraîche. They culture, split, press, and season it with fleur de sel. They form the butter into quenelles and sprinkle with marigold petals.

Commentary:  Chef Tusk loves butter, especially Bordier butter from France. “I particularly like the seaweed butter. I like to sneak some back to the United States whenever I can. Also, I have some friends from Paris that will bring me some when they visit.” He admits.

Chef Tusk shared a few of his favorite ways to enjoy butter:

“I like to go to a restaurant and have a simple piece of fish with a beautiful beurre blanc. You don’t see it as often, but I think it’s pretty delicious.”

“A great egg pasta with beautiful butter and shaved white truffles is one of those dishes that I could eat every day if I had the option.“

“In the morning, having delicious toasted bread with butter and coffee is usually enough for me, that gets my day going.”

“There is nothing like the nutty smell of nice brown butter with a little shot of lemon. It is pretty versatile. That is something that I will never get tired of serving.


Quince
470 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 775-8500

Quince Website



 

La Grenouillère

 

Restaurant:  The restaurant La Grenouillère resides in northern France in a 16th century farmhouse at the commune Madelaine-sous-Montreuil.  Developers converted the vintage home into a restaurant and Inn in the 1930s.

Today, La Grenouillère serves contemporary cuisine that teams native and foreign ingredients. In 2013, the Hotel Restaurant became a member of Relais & Châteaux--a global fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants.

Chef:  Alexandre Gauthier grew up in a restaurant. In 1979,  Alexandre’s birth year,  the Gauthier family acquired ownership of La Grenouillère. Alexandre followed in the footsteps of his father, chef Roland Gauthier, by enrolling in Lycée Hotelier du Touquet.  After graduating, he relocated to Paris and worked with Michel Roth at restaurant Lasserre. He interspersed his domestic culinary service with international stages in Beijing, St. Moritz, and Palermo.  In 2003, still just 24 years old, Alexandre fulfilled his father’s request by assuming kitchen leadership of the family restaurant La Grenouillère. Recognition came rapidly: In 2005, Alain Ducasse invited him to Plaza Athénée to cook at Fou de France-– an event showcasing promising French talent. In 2008, Chef Gauthier regained Grenouillère’s Michelin star.

Butter:  The staff at La Grenouillère serves each table a block of local, lightly salted butter along with two loafs of homemade bread-–one white, the other crusty rye.


La Grenouillère 
Rue de la Grenouillère, 62170 La Madelaine sous Montreuil, France
33 3 21 06 07 22

La Grenouillère website



 

Le Meurice - Paris

 

Restaurant:  Celebrating its 180th anniversary, Le Meurice has earned its rank among the world’s most elegant hotels. Combining 18th century opulence and contemporary chic, the Le Meurice Hotel echoes a French palace with modern amenities. It sits between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre and houses a stunning restaurant of the same name.  The dining room, inspired by the Salon de la Paix at the Château de Versailles, features marble, frescoes, antique mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and large windows overlooking the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries.  Restaurant Le Meurice serves contemporary French haute cuisine worthy of its three Michelin Stars. With its rich and very long history in Paris, the restaurant has hosted countless notables, including Edmond Rostand, Salvador Dali, Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, Andy Warhol, and many more.

Executive Chef:  While world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse oversees all hotel dining, Christophe Saintagne is Le Meurice’s Executive Chef.  Born in Normandy, Saintagne spent his early career at restaurants Auberge du Vieux Logis, Amphyclés and the Elysée Palace.  Before assuming his current leadership at Le Meurice, Saintagne cooked for many additional notable establishments. He worked at 59 Poincaré, then at the Plaza Athénée. In 2002, he became Head Chef at the Parisian restaurant Aux Lyonnais. Between 2005 and 2008, he acted as Sous-Chef at the Hôtel de Crillon.  He returned to Alain Ducasse in 2009, contributing to Ducasse’ book, Nature, Simple, Healthy and Good published that same year. He became Alain Ducasse’ Executive Chef at the Plaza Athénée and then Executive Chef for the restaurant Le Meurice.

Butter:  Waiters serve discs of salted and an unsalted Pascal Sutra butter, this butter is made exclusively with milk from Normandy cows. The cows graze in the meadow and eat less than 20% of extra dry complement food "because good cows and good milk make the best butter." Says Pascal Sutra Fourcade. The butter discs are embossed with the Le Meurice logo. Magnifique!


Le Meurice
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
33 1 44 58 10 10

Le Meurice website



 

Hotel Fauchère - Milford, Pennsylvania

 
Hotel Fauchere Butter.jpg

Hotel Fauchère and Christopher Bates are special to me. When I first had the idea to research restaurant butter, and sent out the first 100 emails, Christopher Bates replied before anyone else. He sent me this beautiful image of three butters on a  white plate. I was thrilled! This was back in 2012. Since then, Bates has moved on, but the butter and comments are still worthy of posting.

Restaurant: Hotel Fauchère is a three-story, historic hotel dating from the 1800s that offers guests a “home away from home” experience. They are part of the Relais & Chateaux fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. 

The hotel offers fine dining in The Delmonico Room, a stylish modern brasserie named Bar Louis, and a bakery cafè called Patisserie Fauchère.  Delmonic's, which opened in the 1820s, was the first restaurant in America that offered a menu and was known for the quality of its cuisine. What today is thought of as “fine dining” in the early 19th century was available only in private homes or private clubs.

 

Chef:  Christopher Bates grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York. At 14, he started working in hotels and when he went off to a college, he specialized in Hotel Administration. His love of food and wine took him to Italy and Germany to make wine. Back in the United States, Bates worked in boutique hotels as a general manager, a sommelier, and a chef.  When I contacted Hotel Fauchère back in 2012, Christopher Bates was the Executive Chef and General Manager.  Along with his brother and his business partner, Bates opened Element Winery located in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Bates passed his Master Sommelier exam after 12 years of study. He is now one of only 229 people worldwide to have earned the title Master Sommelier.  Bates writes and teaches about wine and has had his recipes published in various books. Aside from his wine work and cooking, Christopher is equally obsessed with beer, distillates, cocktails, charcuterie and cheese making.

Butter: “In the Delmonico room we serve three butters for guests to enjoy with our three breads. First, we offer a butter that we make in house with cultured local raw cream, and we salt this butter with fleur de sel. After that we serve a variety of seasonal butters, both flavored and not. Currently we have a brown butter, which we brown heavily with extra milk solids, and then as it cools, we continue to emulsify it with a hand blender so it stays creamy. That will change to a ‘vegan butter’ in spring, which is a solid preparation of olive oil in which we take an extra virgin olive oil and texture it to have the same consistency as butter. We also have a roasted bell pepper butter which will soon change to white spruce butter for the winter and wild foraged ramp for the spring.”  Christopher Bates, 2012

Commentary: “Butter is one of the last unexplored food items on home and fine dining tables alike,” says Chef Bates. “We know where our wine came from, who raised our meat and vegetables, and often have five or more olive oils representing different varietals, origins and producers. Yet next to this is often an anonymous dish of butter. In even the best restaurants, often the most attention we see is having it formed nicely and maybe seasoned with a special salt (which we know where it came from, who made it and what minerals it contains). But the butter is often still anonymous. But some are coming around. We make our own butter (plain and flavored) from raw milk with we skim the cream layer, culture and churn. It is amazing butter. And finally some of America’s best restaurants are going further. Eleven Madison Park serves an amazing cow’s milk butter, but it is their goat’s milk butter from a small dairy that really steals the show. With butter so good, who even needs bread? I ate most of that butter off the knife when no one was looking!” Christopher Bates, 2012


Hotel Fauchère
401 Broad Street, Milford, Pennsylvania 18337
(570) 409-1212

Hotel Fauchère website

Christopher P. Bates 
Element Winery
Arkport, New York
Christopher@elementwinery.com

Element Winery website



 

Gauthier Soho - London

 

Photography: Gauthier Soho


Restaurant  "The word exquisite comes to mind. In fact, it doesn’t just come to mind, it dominates my thoughts about Gauthier." – Richard Vines, Chief food critic at Bloomberg.  Gauthier Soho, specializes in light and modern seasonal French cooking. It provides pleasant service in its refined and discreet surroundings—a Regency townhouse in London's vibrant Soho district. There Gauthier Soho strikes a delicate balance between such elements as “texture, mood, season, time of day, needs, cravings, appetite, and conscience.” Gauthier Soho is especially proud of its fresh and exceptional ingredients, sourced from all over Europe.

Chef:   Alexis Gauthier started working at the Hotel Negresco in Nice, France in 1991. He continued culinary service under Alain Ducasse at his Le Louis XV restaurant in Monaco. From there he became head chef at Roussillon in Pimlico, London, and in  2000,  saw the arrival of the restaurant’s first Michelin star. Roussillon also garnered three AA Rosettes, and won the Time Out "Best Vegetarian Award" in both 2000 and 2001. Gauthier left Roussillon in 2010 to establish the new Gauthier Soho. A year after its opening, the new restaurant, too, earned a Michelin star.

Butter:   “Butter is often the first taste a guest will have in a restaurant,” says Chef Gauthier, “therefore it is crucial the taste and texture is perfect.” Gauthier Soho serves lightly salted classic butter from a small producer in Normandy. Waiters serve the butter covered in green ceramic cones. Chef Gauthier purchased these cones at auction from the now closed Alain Ducasse Plaza Athene restaurant in Paris.

Commentary:  To this day, Chef Gauthier remembers walking home from school and sensing the wonderful aroma from his mother’s kitchen as she seered steaks in brown butter.

“Butter is the ultimate indulgence,” states Chef Gauthier. “Rarely can you find a moment where adding some butter to a dish will not improve it.” Chef Gauthier searches for rare butter made “with milk from cows that have led a happy life, naturally and organically, living outside, eating grass and being relaxed.”  This pastoral bliss contributes to richer, more flavorful milk that supplies far more nutrients and enzymes. The well-balanced fats form the basis of a far superior product. 


Gauthier Soho
21 Romilly St, London W1D 5AF, United Kingdom
+44 20 7494 3111

Gauthier Soho website



 

Pierre - Hong Kong

 

Butter Photo Credit HK Epicurus


Restaurant:  This stunning restaurant, situated on the 25th floor of the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel, is Pierre Gagnaire’s pied a terre in Hong Kong. Here diners can experience outstanding modern French cuisine in a stunning environment half a world away from France. Gagnaire’s protégé Jean Denis Le Bras leads the culinary team.  Diners expect—and receive--creative interpretations of classic dishes with seductive flavors that are truly worthy of the restaurant’s two Michelin-stars.

A vision of contemporary luxury, Pierre’s décor incorporates luxurious fabrics in a palette of charcoal, cherry, blue, and black highlighted with silver and crystal. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views over Victoria Harbour while the central chandelier shifts from one sparkling hue to another. Atmospheric and dramatic, the setting is a perfect backdrop for enjoying the phenomenal cuisine.

Pierre Gagnaire, who visits the restaurant three times a year, is a wizard of innovative French gastronomy, and one of the most original and artistic chefs in the world today. Although his food is often described as ‘modern French,’ his style is deeply rooted in French cooking traditions.  The result is dishes that are easy to understand and unpretentious yet exquisitely presented.  

Chef:  Chef Jean Denis Le Bras joined Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental in 2013. Jean Denis was the perfect choice to lead Pierre’s culinary team, with his more than 16 years’ experience in leading restaurants around the world, the past eight of which he spent with Pierre Gagnaire. Before moving to Hong Kong, Jean Denis and his London team secured a second Michelin star and five AA Rosettes for Pierre Gagnaire’s Lecture Room and Library restaurant at Sketch. Prior to this, Jean Denis was head chef at Francois Plantation, Pierre Gagnaire’s celebrated restaurant in St Bart’s.

pierre_hong_kong

Butter:  Pierre serves Maison Bordier butter--salted for lunch, and unsalted and seaweed flavored for dinner. The butter rests on a plate beneath a piece of vellum printed with the abstract table image, from the Pierre logo. 

Commentary: When Chef Le Bras was working in France, he baked Kouign Aman, a round crusty cake, made with bread dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in. “Kouign Aman is a traditional recipe from Brittany which you add the same amount of butter as flour! Everybody was surprised but they all loved it!” Recalls Chef Le Bras.


Pierre
5 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
852 2522 0111

Pierre Website