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Froggy Style with Pierre Calmels of Bibou

There are many things that distinguish Pierre Calmels, Chef/Owner of Bibou, from other chefs in Philadelphia – his height, his thick French accent, his “four bell” rating by the Inquirer’s Craig Laban – to name a few. At COOK, what distinguishes Pierre is the fact that he is the only chef who comes without a sous chef or assistant of any kind and manages to plate 5 courses – 16 times each – over the course of the evening in amazing time, knocking our socks off with every delicious bite (most chefs knock our socks off though!).

This past Monday night, Pierre once again came solo (except for the now traditional pre-class visit from his wife, Charlotte, and two adorable daughters, Julie and Jeanne). COOK’s 18 guests (we squeezed in two extras) watched and ate in awe as the soft-spoken Frenchman did his thing. Here’s what he made:

  • Hors d’oeuvres (2): guinea hen terrine with apple; marinated anchovies
  • Sunchoke soup, quail egg, purple potato puree, trout caviar
  • Poached brill roulade stuffed with tarragon mousse, fresh Hawaiian hearts of palm, blood orange emulsion
  • Duck Pithiviers with foie gras & black truffles, cauliflower puree flavored with purple mustard
  • Blueberry pie

The soup and the duck were my favorites. And the hearts of palm he had flown in from Hawaii came in the form of a giant 3 foot log! Lucky for me, Chef will repeat the duck pithiviers (a combination of foie gras and ground, confited duck leg served in a golden brown puff pastry) at a special Duck Dinner taking place at Bistrot La Minette on April 3 alongside fellow chefs/COOK instructors Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette), Michael Solomonov (Zahav), Terence Feury (Fork), David Katz (Meme) and Monica Glass (Fish).  It’s $110 prix fixe, seven courses, including wine pairings, and 30% of the proceeds will go to Puentes de Salud. And the best part? You, too, can go! Call the restaurant to book your table.

Zou Bisou Bisou, Pierre!

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