La Péniche and Le Foodist

By Loui Franke

Every once in awhile someone comes up with a really great concept and I tip my hat to Fred Pouillot for his creation of Le Foodist. An evening with Fred will open doors to french culture through food and wine by offering unique taste experiences accompanied by entertaining stories on history, culture, food and wine. Sharing Fred’s passion for food and his knowledge will bring you to a new level of dining appreciation.

The current home for Le Foodist is the adorable péniche, Bateau Daphné, just by the Batobus (or water taxi) stop for Notre Dame called Quai Montebello. This was my first time on a péniche which is one of the flat bottom barges commonly seen on the Seine. The top deck of the boat serves as a delightful starting point for an aperitif with first rate views of Notre Dame. As chilly as it has been in Paris, it was difficult to leave the beauty of the Seine and Notre Dame and descend into the warm cozy dining salon.

The interior is simple in design presenting with natural wood floors, white walls and soft lighting. In the center was a perfectly set table waiting for its 14 quests to assemble and begin an evening of good food and exceptional libations.

Their sommelier, Stéphane, began the evening by sharing his knowledge on really tasting wine and pairing that wine with food. Stéphane is as entertaining as he is knowledgeable and finally I understand how to really taste a wine and assess its quality. Stéphane and Fred interjected their thoughts, stories and knowledge throughout the evening so at the end you realize that you had attended a marvelous lecture while having fun, eating, drinking and socializing with your dinner companions. It just does not get any better than that!

The evening’s meal began with Velouté de Topinambours et Huile de Truffe. This translates as Jerusalem artichoke soup with truffle oil. The second course was Carpaccio de Saint Jacques et Légumes Racines, curry and agrumes (carpaccio of scallops with root vegetables, curry and citrus fruit) which was paired with a Sancerre wine, Robineau, year 2011.

Each of the courses were perfectly prepared and presented, but the plat principal will be one of those memorable meals for the freshness of the ingredients and the marvelous combination of flavors and aromas. The main course was Navarin d’agneau, Epices Méditerranéennes, Pureée de Petits Pois et Menthe, Billes de Légumes (lamb with Mediterranean spices, pureed peas with mint and vegetables). The lamb dish was perfectly paired with an organic wine, Crozes Hermitage, 2011.

Since this is France, you can be certain that a selection of cheese followed the main course. The cheese was paired with a wine from St. Emilion, Chateau Matignon, 2008.

The dessert was not to be outdone by the preceding line up of wonderful dishes and flavors. The chef prepared a Poire Belle Hélène (pouched pear with ice cream and chocolate sauce) and Stéphane chose a Mas Amiel from Maury, 2009 to accompany it. Perfection!

Alas, this charming evening, full of fun and camaraderie, had to end but not without a closing jewel to remember. We all bundled up and climbed to the top deck for a final glass of bubbly, Champagne Fallet Dart, and a last glimpse of Notre Dame in all her beauty.

This gourmet delight that Fred has organized is called “Once Upon a Table”. In addition to this option, there are wine and chocolate pairings and wine and cheese pairing sessions. The website is in English and French and the events are in English. To make your reservation please check out the website for LeFoodist. You can also contact Fred directly by email.

You will discover from the website that there are a number of future plans for Le Foodist that include cooking glasses. Bravo to Fred Pouillot and his new venture!

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