French Chef's Golden Secrets
Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Have you ever been to a party where scrumptious, gold-sprinkled petits fours and mini bites were served, and you had to look around and observe before deciding whether you should eat the gold or scrape it off?
I did, and I must admit, that was quite a dilemma for me.
I weighed the pros and the cons as I was trying to focus on my conversation with some other guests and pretend that everything was fine and that I knew what I was doing with my delicacy in one hand and my glass of champagne in the other hand.
“If I eat this gold, what’s the risk? Hm… But wait, there are no forks or knives available on the buffet table that I could use to separate the gold from the caviar. That, by itself, should be a sign that I should not worry about it. Plus, I would have to leave the standing crowd and find a spot to start proceeding in private. Oh well, I can’t do that. I wish I knew where this gold comes from… How am I to trust that it comes from a reliable source? I’ll just take a deep, courageous breath and swallow it then. After all, no one around me seems to be concerned about it, so… I shouldn’t either.”
I left the world of deep thinking to go back to the superficiality and hollowness of the conversation with the same guests, roughly where I left them - Glamorous parties are usually not centered on intellect as much as they are on status.
I did not think that the gold was very tasty, but it looked amazingly beautiful on the petits fours, the champagne and, later, on the chocolate truffles. No wonder the glitter was like diamonds under the LED lights of the jewelry cases at Tiffany’s! You cannot get this kind of intensity from 18 karat, or, even less, 14 karat gold. Simply amazing! When I was told that the 24 karat gold flakes came from a very trusted source in France, used by renowned pastry chefs and Michelin-starred restaurants, I was totally reassured.
Of course, I made the decision that night to find the 24 karat gold flakes for my own restaurant.
Fast forward, within a week, my cream puffs, my chocolate torte, my crème caramel and other signature desserts were dressed up with the edible gold dust from France, getting more and more popular by the day. On special occasions, the smoked salmon salad with fresh dill and beet puree would get the VIP treatment as well, waiting for the guests’ enchantment. So many photos were taken on those delightful, glamorous evenings in my reception hall. Inevitably, the gold flakes would follow some guests home as souvenirs…! I actually started selling them in tiny jars. Some people would buy them for special occasions and sprinkle them on the tablecloth. Some would add them to a shot of sake for New Year’s good luck.
This is to say that the precious commodity can have as many applications as the imagination will create and can easily turn a simple meal or ordinary cocktail into an extraordinary display. Amazing to some, magical to others.