The name says it all – The Ritz Paris. Wow. I’ve walked through Place Vendôme so many times and wondered just what was behind those stunning doors. It is one of the most famous hotels in the world and as I experienced earlier this month, it takes luxury to an entire new level. Travel Onion invited myself and several other bloggers to a cooking event at the École Ritz Escoffier, and I couldn’t wait to get into my chef whites – watch out kitchen!
Our event started with a tour of the Imperial Suite, a 200-square metre space complete with two bedrooms available to you all at 13,000€ per night. From the astoundingly high ceilings to the rich opulent tones, this suite screams French royalty and was indeed inspired by the Louis XIV era. The sprawling space is ridiculously comfortable – those red chairs complete with gold embroidery should come with a “you will not want to move” warning. Now I know understand why my fellow Brit Winston Churchill enjoyed this suite.
Modelled on Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom, one of the decadent bedrooms really is fit for the queen. With the perfect view overlooking the historic Place Vendôme and a shopper’s paradise: Chanel, Boucheron and Charvet to name but a few. As nice as the bedroom is, it was the bathroom which captivated me. Can you imagine lazing is this bath-tub, glass of champagne to your left as you read a copy of Vogue Paris cover to cover? I can but unfortunately, at 13,000€ per night, my imagination is all I have.
As we made our way down to ‘our’ kitchen, we stopped by the main kitchen only to discover that all food is prepared here – pastry, chocolate, bread et al – 24/7. Gourmet room service at the press of a button, all from Marie-Antoinette’s bath tub… Yes, still dreaming! Our chef, Mr Didier Steudler is not only a great teacher, but also a very personable teacher. Look, we were at The Ritz and we were about to cook, not only in front of our fellow bloggers, but in a Ritz kitchen. Er, intimidating! Chef Steudler put us at ease and made everything very clear.
Our first mission was the preparation of the starter: Confit tomato tart, baby arugula, grated parmesan cheese and smoked ham. Who knew such a delicious and beautifully presented dish could be so simple? If you come over to my apartment for supper, don’t be surprised if I serve this. Perfectly light, tasty, pretty and you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. You can obviously omit the ham from the recipe as one of my fellow blogettes did et voilà, you have a scrumptious vegetarian dish.
I was a vegetarian for 10 years. Not one of those fake ones who eat fish and white meat, a real I-don’t-eat-anything-with-a-face vegetarian, and though that is no longer the case (sashimi is my friend), I have never liked the texture of meat. Up until this month, I’d never even tasted veal but we were cooking “sage-infused veal medallions with potato and celeraic gratin”, so why not! The meat was so tender, the mustard sauce divine but that perfect, succulent veal is hard to get over. The gratin full of butter, cream, milk and cheese was sublime and I cannot wait to make at home but what did I think about the politically incorrect veal? Sorry vegetarians but I beeping loved it! Culinary bliss.
Cooking classes are always fun, particularly the eating part. What attracts me most l’école Ritz Escoffieur is that you’re not just cooking with the best, but within The Ritz building itself. What a wonderful experience, which I will treasure. A big merci beaucoup to the Travel Onion team, chef Steudler and of course, The Stephanies who put the event together.
École Ritz Escoffier, Hotel Ritz Paris, 15 Place Vendôme, +33 (0) 1 43 16 30 30
Milla’s note: Whilst we ate dinner at The Ritz Paris, which we cooked ourselves (and some people burnt but no names…), these are my own opinions for which I have received no monetary compensation.