Feb 5, 2012

Quick cooking tips at Galeries Lafayette Gourmet

When Chef Russell Impiazzi, the Gourmet Culinary Director at Galeries Lafayette, contacted me about a private cooking lesson, I just couldn't say NO!  Those who know me well understand I pride myself on my cooking skills, but it doesn't hurt to get some one-on-one training from the culinary experts in the city.  Using the Galeries Lafayette Gourmet market as the backdrop for this gastronomical feat, I was really setting myself up for an evening of excitement!

Chef Russell asked me what my favorite ingredient to cook with is, and normally I would say Lobster, Truffle, or Fillet Mignon.  But lately I've been feeling kind of Spicy, so I thought I would throw Russell a curve ball and have him create something with Chipotle peppers!  And that he did!  First up was a Tea Smoked Seared Scallop with a Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise dressing and Avocado Salsa.  There is a lot going on with this dish, but this is a true test of the culinary skills of the chef put into play, along with his ability to teach me a thing or two about technique and kitchen decorum. 

Below is a Wok, lined with sugar, rice, jasmine tea, and vanilla bean pods (not shown in picture).  Next, this is covered and brought to a high temperature to create the smoke Vacuum, which the scallops will lightly smoke in.  The image to the right demonstrates the delicate process by which the scallops are placed into the smoker.  It's a very rustic approach, but one you could do at home. 

Next Chef Russell showed me how to make his Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise dressing. Now, I am a firm believer in doing things from scratch, but Chef Russell took it to another level by making me hand mix the mayo!  I have made my own mayo many time but with the aid of a blender/food processor.  If you don't whisk the eggs and oil enough, the texture turns out too runny, so make sure you either have a strong whipping arm or invest in a good kitchen gadget! 

After the "make your own mayo" lesson, chef Russell insisted I learn how to "Quenelle", a technique I have tried many times, but never quite figured out how to do. But under the watchful eye of Chef Russell, I was able to make perfectly shaped Quenelle for the plating of our scallops. 
The final dish! And the Proud Chef Russell and I with the finished product.  It was a great lesson, and at the end, we were able to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  But this was just the first course.......

Next up was the USDA Prime Rib Eye with Roasted Garlic Chipotle Butter and a Black Bean Puree with Warm Tomato Salsa, Hungry yet!?

The Roasted Garlic Chipotle Butter was up first, All we did here was take a large portion of soft French butter (Isigny Ste.Mere) place it into a mortar and pestle and mixed it thoroughly with the roasted rarlic, diced chipotle peppers, sea salt, and parsely.  Once mixed through, it was spread out onto wax paper, and formed into a cylinder, then refrigerated to be used later. 

 The Chef Russell showed me The "Jasper", the king of all ovens, but only for commercial use.  The Jasper can get as hot as 500 C Degrees!  He also showed me the gorgeous selection of meats available at The Galeries Lafayette, but said his favorite source of beef is USDA Prime Beef.  Proud to know that the Americans are a good meat resource!  Seriously look at the marbling and color on that steak....it's perfection on a plate!

While our steak cooks we went shopping in the market for some fresh produce and ingredients for the salsa.  We whipped it up quickly and set it aside until we were ready to plate.  It just required a quick touch of heat, so there was no need to keep it on the stove top for too long.  It was a nice balance of tomato, garlic, onion, cilantro, and lime juice of course.  

 Now it was time for a challenge...the ever so popular "chef smear"!  Now this is one thing I have tried and tried and tried, I just simply can't get the hang of it.  Now Chef Russell tried his best to teach me his technique.....which of the two below do you think is mine?
 Ok, now it's time for business....The Gorgeous Rib Eye Steak, cooked to perfection with the creamy Roasted Garlic Chipotle Butter melting sinfully on top...... 
 The final dish, plated and ready to eat! It was an eventful evening and very informative.  Private cooking lessons are great treat, and something you could engage in with a friend or partner for an alternative evening out.  It's also a great idea if you are looking to prepare a special holiday treat for a loved one (perhaps for V-day coming right up), then you can pick up your gourmet delicacies right here at the Galeries Lafayette Gourmet department or even sign-up for one of these private cooking classes.  It's a good time all around, and you even get to enjoy a delicious feast when you're through!

A job well done to Chef Russell and the Team and Galeries Lafayette!  Looking forward to more culinary exploration in the future, but if you are looking for private cooking lessons in one of the most colorful culinary destinations in Dubai then Chef Russell is your man!  For more information please contact  Miya Billones [miya.billones@pazmarketing.com]


  1. Thanks for sharing the info here. Keep up the good work. All the best.

  2. Great piece! Where do you purchase Chipotle peppers in UAE? If you've got a source in Abu Dhabi, I'll be very happy!

  3. They are tricky to find actually! Chef Russell at Galeries Lafayette special ordered them for the class, but I have also found the canned ones available for sale at Maria Bonita restaurant on Umm Al Sheif street in Jumeirah. Hope thats helpful!