Image: Chef Andre Loutsch
Christophe Ena  /  AP
The crowd watches Chef Andre Loutsch, right, cooking pastries in a Paris subway station, on  Nov.24. Renowned Paris chefs took to the platforms of the Miromesnil subway station in a three-day series of cooking demonstrations and samplings. With a different theme and chef for each segment, French commuters had the oppurtunity to learn how to make, and to taste, many dishes, such as poached hake fish, calamari risotto, and fruit-filled crepes.
By
updated 11/25/2010 6:59:05 PM ET 2010-11-25T23:59:05

Renowned French chefs are slicing and sauteing this week in a subway station in a series of cooking demonstrations that result in mouthwatering treats for commuters.

Transit announcements punctuated the culinary performances Thursday as Paris subway riders learned about — and tasted — dishes such as duck with artichoke sauce, calamari risotto and fruit-filled crepes.

"It's an exchange of fine cuisine," said chef Patrice Caillault of restaurant Domaine de Rochevilaine in Brittany, who prepared poached merlu, or hake, over a bed of spinach.

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Each theme, spread over three days, had a different chef. The Guide Champerard, a restaurant guide focusing on accessible fine dining, sponsored the event.

"The people here in the Metro might think that they do not have the necessary means to return home and have a 4 star meal," Caillault said. "So we want to erase that taboo."

The sweet aroma of cranberries and maple syrup masked the stale metro smell — and like a magnet drew scores of Parisians, their gustatory desires prevailing over the rush to get home.

Thursday's featured foods were duck and merlu, an effort to give everyone access to high-quality products.

"You have to try it," Danielle Laurino, who stumbled across the demonstration while shopping, told fellow subway-riders. "It really makes you want to go and make the recipe at home."

The presentations were held at the Miromesnil metro station — in the chic 8th arrondissement, not too far from the presidential palace and the famed Galeries Lafayette department store. They featured such noted chefs as Alain Senderens and Antoine Westermann. Others cooking in the metro were Eric Kayser, Patrice Hardy, Laurent Andre, and Bruno Doucet.

Caillault said he hoped people could see that the recipes were simple and used everyday products. He shrugged off concerns about hygiene in the subway, saying his products were prepared on a platform specially designed for the demonstrations.

But even noted chefs are not perfect.

Hardy, of La Truffe Noire restaurant in Neuilly, on the western edge of Paris, said the first crepes never come out right. And his didn't: The first two delicate chestnut-flour crepes fell apart when he flipped them.

He blamed the pan, and no one in the crowd seemed to mind because the rest were perfect.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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