In January of 1981 I did a month "stage" at a restaurant in the Burgundy region of France. The restaurant was call Alain Chapel after the chef-owner. The famed Chef Albert Roux of Le Gavroche, London, fame arranged the short term apprenticeship for me. Lodging was arranged by my friend Stephen Dougherty who was working there at the time. I was ensconced in a very old farmhouse, some 200 plus years old, privy outside and one bare bulb to light the room. The discomfort was well worth the experience at Chapel's.
Chapel's restaurant, three Michelin Stars at the time, was a very classical, regional restaurant. One dish in particular stands out in my mind. Chef Chapel braised a cow's ear until tender, stuffed it with a mixture of sweetbreads, foie gras, black truffles and velour, a rich cream sauce. After a standard breading, the stuffed ear was deep fried and served with a sauce perigourdine, black truffle demi glace.
Another standout dish was carp from a live tank and freshly butchered. A simple jus was the sauce, fish sautéed in butter and set on "herbes de jardin" which were wild gathered weeds.
I was also enlisted to help a pork butcher prepare charcuterie, the famous Lyonnaise sausages. I helped grind, by hand grinder, a whole hog, mix in the flavorings, stuff the casings with the mixture and hand it in an attic to cure. I have detailed notes on how to mix the ground to be evenly distribute the seasonings. Afterward, they were buried in ash to finish. More on this later...
Chef Michael Hutchings