Monday, 27 May 2013

Step Up to the Plate

I picked up Step Up to the Plate on DVD recently. I'd never heard of it before, but was immediately drawn in by the cover and couldn't leave it in the shop. A father, a son, Three Michelin Stars. It was my choice for our family movie night this week so I used the opportunity to watch it.

Michel Bras has run Restaurant Bras in Laguiole, France for many years. It looks amazing. He has had 3 Michelin stars since 1999, and now it is time for him to retire. Step Up to the Plate is an intriguing tale about the transition of power and creative direction from father Michel Bras to his son Sebastien. 

I wasn't aware of Restaurant Bras before watching this DVD. Now of course I'd love to visit. It is perched atop a hill in the remote and desolate Laguiole region of France. Famous for their beautiful knives. 

My lovely Laguiole knives

The Laguiole bee
Laguiole knives have an appellation in just
the same way as wines and cheeses do

Laguiole also has an eponymous cheese, which I shall be looking out for in Paris. The Bras boys often pair their Laguiole cheese with blackberry. The precision of the Bras plating technique is extraordinary. The planning of their dishes is amazing. Michel Bras has many, many hand written and illustrated journals that track the development of his recipes and techniques. Both father and son are particularly intense and achingly precise in their work. 

The Bras family have a sister restaurant in Hokkaido, Japan, that now has 3 Michelin stars also, and possibly looks even more amazing than the French establishment. It was fascinating watching Sebastian create a new dish in France, and then adapt it with Japanese ingredients. Great to see the Bras boys singing French karaoke in Japan too!

I enjoyed Step Up to the Plate, although it just sort of ended, and didn't show what happened after Sebastien was due to take over the business. Still it was a fascinating glimpse into the rarefied world of 3 Michelin Star cuisine. 

Dreaming of France, a great Monday meme from Paulita at An Accidental Blog


Paulita said...

Louise, I take it this was a documentary! I had never heard of the village, the knives or the restaurant so thanks for putting it on my radar. And thanks for playing along today. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

Louise said...

Yes it is a documentary Paulita. I didn't make that particularly clear. Sorry.

Marg said...

This sounds fascinating. I wish my library had it!

Did you see the doco about the French pastry chefs competing against each other. I will try and work out what it was called and come back with the title!

Parisbreakfasts said...

The last Paris place I rented had so many Laguiole knives in all sizes and shapes I imagined the owner's husband practiced his knive-throwing skills on her.
In the Sud Ouest, Laguiole is like gold - treasured. I have yet to buy one, since my sister threw a kitchen knife at me as a kid..I'm not so eager :)
Oh dear, the film does look entrancing though...

Esme said...

I am going to check this out. I have one Laguiole knife-your set is gorgeous.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You are doing a fine job of preparing for your trip to Paris.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

What a coincidence to read about the Laguiole knives today! Yesterday, I was with my French friend and we were talking about Opinel. She then pulled out a folding Laguiole knife so I could see the mark and the blade along with the abeille on the side.

Your knives are indeed lovely!


Louise said...

I think it was Kings of Pastry that you were thinking of Marg. I saw it a few years ago.

Any Laguiole is special Carol. We have a set of matching forks too, and a corkscrew- which is actually what set off the knife coveting.

Thanks Esme.

I hope so Deb. I'm ready. But I've been ready since the last trip.

I do love a good dose of synchronicity Genie. I'd never heard of Opinel, but just googled it- they have some amazing knives.