Christophe Felder

One day you find yourself looking at a dessert that is simply, joyously good and you fall in love with it. Easy to eat although it’s not so easy to make, and this is what makes it so fascinating. We were enchanted at the first taste, and continued to be so until it was all gone, and afterwards in our memories. The dessert was méli mielo made with rocket and punk grapefruit, enlivened by a vanilla vinaigrette and crowned by a grapefruit sorbet, which Christophe Felder, former pastry-chef at Crillon in Paris, now consultant for a chain of Japanese patisseries and successful author of excellent cookery books containing recipes you really can follow, made once in London.

Enchanted: initially by the freshness, joyousness, liveliness, goodness and immediacy. Then by the ideas within it: the use of vegetables in the dessert, the vanilla vinaigrette which caresses the leaves of the mixed “misticanza” salad leaves, revealing an unusual sweetness, and the sorbet base, a soft pillow at the bottom of the glass. Open, sociable and chatty are the words we can use to describe the cucumber and green apple concassé marinated in mint, almost a sweet response to Greek Tzatziki, with the mint sorbet at the base. It’s an idea that can be copied at home with a fair probability of success. Unlike the boundary of peppers with cumin and lemon, with strawberry and raspberry and a base of chocolate ice-cream, embellished by whole cumin seeds: a game of clutch and accelerator which requires skill and know-how.

It’s a shame that Felder has left the restaurant sector to pursue research: in a bunker kitchen on the Rive Gauche in Paris, he perfects desserts that are then made in Japan, bearing his signature. He says he sometimes misses the restaurant: «Being stressed, having to beat the clock, stimulates creativity». Meanwhile, he’s investing in a hotel in the town where he was born, where the rooms are named after spices, fruit and desserts. Maybe one day he will miss working in a restaurant so much that he’ll return, with the naturalness and fun that convey pleasure to the result. «It never feels like I’m working», he says, although the list of works in progress makes you dizzy.


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Roberta Corradin

For over a decade Roberta Corradin has been covering travel and food for Italian Marie Claire, L'Espresso, La Repubblica, illywords and others. She is a contributor for Food Arts. Her Italian rendition of Spices, History of a Temptation by Jack Turner was awarded with Premio Costa d'Amalfi. She edited the English version of Nonna Genia's Classic Langhe Cookbook. Her fiction works are published in German, French, and Spanish. Her last book Le cuoche che volevo diventare focuses on women and cooking, and was published in Italy by Einaudi in 2008.