The exceptional international school for the culinary arts and hospitality management in Shanghai—Restaurant-Ecole Institut Paul Bocuse, recently hosted an impressive Mushroom Evening which showcased the brimming potential of its bright young talents and presented the humble fungi in its full glory.
For those unfamiliar with Le Restaurant-Ecole, it is the brainchild of the legendary Chef Paul Bocuse, the pioneer of nouvelle cuisine. His significant contribution to contemporary French cuisine paved the way for a new generation of chefs and tastemakers around the world.
Back in the Nineties, he established his first school for the Culinary Arts and Hotel Trade in Lyon, France. Now, the institute comprises several renowned international programs, a research centre, and partnerships with 13 schools and universities around the world, including Le Restaurant-Ecole in Shanghai.
The school facilitates an important cultural exchange between the students, and more importantly, provide them with invaluable, hands-on experience working a real-life restaurant environment.
Since its opening in 2010 during the Shanghai World Expo, the restaurant has been the professional training grounds for a selection of the finest Chinese and French hospitality talents. Each term, the institute accepts 24 French and 40 local students to train in the arts of culinary and hospitality management.
The focus at Le Restaurant-Ecole is Modern French, with emphasis placed on fresh, seasonal produce and lighter flavours. The menu often takes its inspiration from local produce and evolves with each season. Their recent Mushroom Evening is a fine reflection of this.
The idea was conceived when the students were introduced to a local organic mushroom supplier, whose diverse range of curious and wonderful mushrooms became the catalyst for this creative dinner. Featuring seven types of wild mushrooms, each of the seven courses explored the possibilities of fungi in surprising and innovative ways.
The evening began with black trumpet consommé served over a chestnut ravioli, followed by a foie gras terrine topped with round discs of thinly sliced white mushroom. The addition of lime proved a nice counterbalance to the richness of the foie gras. Next, porcini mushrooms played the leading role in a deliciously executed “pizza”, artistically arranged with crayfish, tomato and prosciutto, all atop a disc of buttery, flaky short-crust pastry.
Mains of monk fish with wild mushrooms and quinoa was a healthy delight and the classic Beef Stroganoff was given a fresh perspective paired with yellow Chanterelles. This was all encased beautifully in a cylindrical enclosure of long hollow pastas.
The desserts, however, offered the most pleasant of surprises and displayed the student’s creativity in the sweets realm. The bitter chocolate quenelle infused with the lush and earthy tones of black truffle was pure indulgence with every mouthful; and the morels cooked in a caramel syrup with pear tatin-tart proved that mushrooms can elevate well-loved desserts into unchartered territories. Well matched wines and efficient service further added to the pleasantry of the evening.
The future certainly looks bright for the students of Restaurant-Ecole Institut Paul Bocuse and it is great to support them and be a part of their journey.
Restaurant-Ecole Institut Paul Bocuse
379 Baotun Lu (near Zhongshan Nan Lu), Shanghai
+86 21 3307 1102