What a thrill to present Markets of Paris at the International Culinary Center (home of the French Culinary Institute) in New York City on Wednesday. I was warmly greeted by several of my food heroes (okay, their likenesses in big portraits) such as Emily Luchetti, Jacques Torres, Alain Salhac, Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, and others.
Chef Annette Tomei and her team prepared refreshments–savory mushroom crêpes, country paté on fresh baguettes with a smear of moutarde, cornichons, etc.–from ingredients they procured at Union Square Market that morning. All the items in the picnic boxes she handed out were representative of foods that can easily be found in Parisian markets every day.
Tara O’Keeffe gave me a tour of the classrooms. I met several chef instructors & their students, diligently working in the kitchens.
Their enthusiasm–and the samples I tasted en route–makes me optimistic about the next generation of chefs.
Prompted by Chef Annette Tomei’s intriguing question–what are some of my favorite food memories of the markets of Paris?–I spoke about galettes de pomme de terre made by Les Galatins who are regulars at Marché Bio Raspail (the organic version on Sundays) and Marché Biologique Batignolles (again, organic) on Saturdays.
Eating these richly flavored potato pancakes hot off the griddle represented an important moment for me–warming me up both literally (alas, improperly dressed on a cold January day) and figuratively for the market research that I was about to embark upon last year. I also spoke about other favorite markets and food memories from the markets in Paris (for example, rôtisserie chickens turning on a spit while their drippings moisten chunks of potatoes in pans below). Students were interested to learn about Les Halles, the famous old market that used to dominate the center of Paris, and the role of markets in Paris’s history, culture, and culinary traditions.
June Russell from Greenmarket/GrowNYC talked about the markets of NYC, and the culinary students were treated to a comparison of two world-class market cities.
Afterwards, a drink at L’Ecole and a chance to reconnect with some friends.
The next day, I took the train from NYC into Philadelphia for a book signing at the Reading Terminal Market. What a vibrant market that is! I felt proud as a native Pennsylvanian and–talk about favorite food memories–was reminded of many favorites from my youth.
A large crowd turned out to hear me talk about the markets in Paris and to get a signed copy. I loved meeting so many people who share an enthusiasm for markets, and in some cases people who are about to travel to Paris and curious about how market outings might fit into their itinerary.
It was an honor to present in the brand new room dedicated to Rick Nichols, a former writer for the Inquirer, who advocated for saving the Reading Terminal Market decades ago when it was almost shuttered. Thank you, Rick! Today it’s a hugely popular destination for locals and visitors. I’ll be back for sure.