Friday, March 31, 2006

My Review: PJ on The Dish

Jean-Robert, Paavo, and Meg with a toast to a successful show, with (left to right) Creamed Brussels Sprouts, Sauteed Fingerling Potatoes, and Veal a la Viennoise garnished with capers and diced hard boiled egg

Well, I'm not prejudiced or anything ;-), but I think Paavo was one of the best guests I've seen on The Dish since it premiered last fall. It was fun to see an aspect of his personality that most people, who only think of him as the serious "Maestro", never get to see -- the playful, charming side.

From his entrance, when he declared that his cooking specialty was "boiling water"--and Jean-Robert retorted that they had the perfect job for him (boiling potatoes prior to cooking)--to Paavo's anecdote about his two-year-old daughter Lea attending his concerts and recently blurting out "Papa!" during a quiet moment in Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, there was a lovely chemistry at work; not exactly an easy thing when there's still a whole lotta cookin' goin' on!

Paavo pointed out that, in French, the conductor is referred to as the "chef d'orchestre", while, of course, Jean-Robert is also chef [de cuisine] and asked Jean-Ro if he had studied music as a boy in France. Jean-Robert responded by saying he'd studied something that I am going to have to listen to again to figure out, but it had something to do with singing and musical terms. PJ knew exactly what it was, even though co-host Meg and I were stumped! All the while, as this banter flew back and forth, Paavo continued his kitchen "apprenticeship" under Meg's tutelage: trimming the ends off of Brussels sprouts, pounding strips of veal to flatten ("I never thought I'd be doing this in public!"), breading and sauteeing the resulting scallopine. Not too bad for a novice! ;-)

The recipes are not posted on the website yet, but when they are they will appear here. The dishes on today's menu for spring included Veal a la Viennoise (which, as PJ pointed out, is the French version of Wiener Schnitzel!) with Madeira Sauce, sauteed fingerling potatoes, creamed Brussels sprouts, and tiramisu.

As Paavo, who clearly was having a good time, said, during a particularly hectic moment, "I hope you invite me back!" I hope they do, too.

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