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Tuesday October 8, 2013 MYT 12:10:00 PM
Tuesday October 8, 2013 MYT 12:17:32 PM
A native of Colombia, Juan Arbelaez was a contestant on the French version of 'Top Chef' in 2012. - AFP
Potatoes by Juan Arbelaez.
COLOMBIAN chef Juan Arbelaez, who was once a contestant on the French edition of Top Chef, offers his cuisine at two restaurants in the Paris area: L’Acajou and La Plancha. The young chef lets us in on his love of potatoes.
What led you to choose this ingredient?
Native to the Andean region, the potato is a simple and widely accessible ingredient that can also be a gastronomic delicacy, in light of the numerous varieties (around 800). The different types of potatoes constitute a range of countless tastes, textures and shapes allowing for a multitude of culinary creations.
What is your best cooking memory associated with this ingredient?
On Dec 24, 2009, at a staff meal served before the dinner service at Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant, the chef prepared a capon for us, roasted over Agria potatoes. The way that the potatoes had soaked up the fat and the cooking juices made each bite, and the meal itself, into a truly magical moment.
When is this ingredient in season?
Since potatoes come in so many varieties and also have an excellent shelf life, they are a product that can be enjoyed year-round.
What is the best way to prepare it? Can you share a recipe?
An original way to work with potatoes is to dice them and cook them like a risotto, thickening the sauce at the end with an excellent parmesan cheese. The dish should be served hot with a white wine from the Trapet winery in Burgundy or an Arneis wine from Italy’s Piedmont region.
What other ingredients can be combined with potatoes to delight and surprise the taste buds?
Potatoes are complemented well by ocean-like and smoky tastes (as in smoked haddock), which go well with the melt-in-the-mouth texture of fingerling potatoes or similar varieties.
What are the most common mistakes made when preparing this ingredient?
How do you offer this ingredient on your current menu?
Poached Vitelotte and Agria potatoes with coffee sauce, and coriander and lemon caviar as a condiment, in accompaniment to my Black Angus hanger steak.
What wine (or other alcohol) is best married with this ingredient?
For the haddock and potatoes combination, a Pouilly Fumé makes an excellent accompaniment. For the Black Angus steak and potatoes with coffee sauce, the smoothness and warmth of a Ribera del Duero will simply thrill your taste buds. – AFP Relaxnews
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