An Ode to Paris

I cannot believe it has been 2 years since I first moved to Paris. I remember arriving in the city of lights full of hope, fear, excitement, joy…well a mixture of feelings really, not knowing what to expect, not knowing where I would be in 6-months time, how would I cope with my new adventure, will I last, will I fail, will I succeed and where would I be?

Since culinary school and interning in Alain Ducasse of Plaza Athénée, where I learned the best of the basics; I moved to San Sebastian in Basque country Spain to work in Mugaritz where I was whisked away into another world of cooking. I have been blessed with such exciting experiences these past 2 years, it’s incredible how much I have come so far from it all. And I feel there’s no stopping me now well until I visit Paris and fall in love with the city all over again, like I did the first time.

There’s something about Paris that stays with you. My memories are still vivid of my culinary experiences here both within school walls and out. It’s as if it all happened 2 weeks ago, not 2 years ago. Drinking wine at my favorite wine-bar, strolling the banks of the Seine river, running in the wee hours of the morning and watching the sun rise behind the Eiffel Tower – each moment found in this “City of Light”.

So this blog post will not be for a restaurant or wine bar, but it is for you, Paris.

I love your food and your people’s love and knowledge for gastronomy. I love to hear the crunch of a freshly baked baguette, I love the colors your markets are adorned with from the various seasonal fruits and vegetables that come along, I love your tiny cafes with tight seatings, or your overpriced cups of café that are actually shots of expresso, and how about the patisseries left, right and center where you know you can always find a nice pain au chocolat?

I love your way of living. People dedicating to long talks and heavy red wines; their pursuit of happiness never stops. Women and men in dresses and business suits on their scooters, honking away, or renting an eco-friendly velib, theor love for nature and walks along the seine on a sunny day. The never-ending smell of smoke from old cigarettes.

I love your architecture, the way the city shines bright on the past while looking towards the future. The ancient buildings, the adornments on the walls, the difficult strolls on cobblestone streets (especially in high heels), the beauty of the french language.

This is an ode to your glorious contradictions that I will always love.

Despite having to leave you again for Spain; this time not in Basque country but towards the East, near Barcelona, in a town called Girona where famed restaurant El Celler de Can Roca (3-Michelin star and 2nd Best in the world; view my blog post here) sits, I will embark in my new adventure for the next couple of months but I know that a piece of you will always be with me.

Some last pictures before I leave…from my favorite Le Comptoir

Seasonal delights…

Sauteed mushrooms with egg cooked in low-temperature, basque ham

Foie gras with plum marmelade

So as Hemingway once said: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

A bientot, Paris!

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