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Simply not good enough

All posts since 2007 are on http://www.frenchlivingdiaries.blogspot.co.uk/

Watched Masterchef last night to find myself troubled by an insistent criticism of simplicity, a fear of dishes not succeeding because they are too simple.

“Tastes wonderful, stunning flavours but I am worried it may just be too simple for Masterchef.”

Pierre, who is now 15, gazed at me and I grinned back at him.

“What is their problem?” he burted out, unable to control his disbelief, as we watched a charismatic Indian lady rustle together aromatic wonders, effortlessly, and yet with heart-felt passion.

“Wow” cried Pierre, “have you seen what she has just made? It looks amazing.”

But the wonder seemed to be lost Add to Technorati Favoriteson John Torode and Gregg Wallace, who seemed intent on belittling her one-pot food.

Luckily, the more sophisticated and trained taste-buds of John Torode could not deny the perfect flavours of her “simple” Indian food, and she continues on to tomorrow’s show.


We seem to have lost our appreciation for simplicity – harmonious flavours combined together to achieve timeless classics, or simple home-cooked dishes, made with love, served without pretension. In every town and city in France there are restaurants that do this job.

They exist not to impress, not to show-off, but to deliver heart warming food for office workers at lunch-time (the French sit down for lunch – always – not a jacket, sandwich or wrap in sight), and to create a friendly, informal dining experience at honest, affordable prices. I suppose these simple French restaurants perform the role of our pubs – although many of our pubs have also lost the art of simplicity, opting for the wow factor instead, placing presentation above flavour.


Haute cuisine does of course exist in France, but the majority of restaurants are bistros, family-run brasseries – rather like French Living, – who are catering for a regular loyal clientele, who lunch every week, who dine out pre-theatre quite frequently, who recognise fresh, flavoursome simplicity.


I do wish television would start re-educating the nation on the basics, stop running before we can walk, in order to learn about those simple flavour combinations that work. Appreciation of flavour, rather than obsession with decoration would help many diners relax and enjoy their meals, rather than raising their expectations that all food should look like mini-works of art.


I hope my beautiful Indian chef wins Masterchef – something tells me it will be the lack of smeared puree, edible flowers









and coulis droplets that will let her down!

All posts since 2007 are on http://www.frenchlivingdiaries.blogspot.co.uk/

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