Former White House Pastry Chef Champions Kumquats

mesier2In the decade since he left his executive pastry chef post at the White House, Roland Mesnier has become renowned for divulging former first families’ culinary peccadilloes and second-guessing the executive kitchen’s current staff members, so it’s no surprise he favors fruit with bite.

“We are here to celebrate the famous kumquat!,” Mesnier proclaimed at the outset of a recent Southern Season cooking class.

Mesnier’s demonstration dessert menu included strawberry soufflé and Bailey’s Irish Cream ice cream (a recurrent hit at the White House, which made a big deal about St. Patrick’s Day even before a Chicagoan was in charge.) But it was the glazed kumquats preparation which allowed him to expound on his lifelong avoidance of artificial ingredients.

“I don’t like extract,” Mesnier said. “Don’t mention extract to me.” Continue reading

Annie’s Bistro Serving Country French in Mt. Pleasant

282107_139597089454843_7274551_nThe Snowmaggedon of 2010 set in motion a series of restaurant moves which culminated with Annie’s Bistro opening in Mt. Pleasant – in the midst of last month’s ice storm.

Mark Manly and Carole Robert in 2007 opened their French café in Middleburg, Va., but were forced to relocate three years later when a few feet of snowfall weakened the restaurant’s roof. After three years in Bethseda, Md., “we were at that point where rents were about to go into the realm of not possible,” Manly says.  Last fall, he and wife paid a scouting visit to the area where his grandparents retired in the 1970s.

“(Carole) said ‘I can live anywhere’,” Manly says of the decision to re-open Annie’s Bistro in Towne Centre. Continue reading

Xiao Bao Celebrates Beaujolais Noveau With French Bistro Menu

Modern Vietnamese cuisine was deeply influenced by French colonization, and Xiao Bao Biscuit this weekend is making the connection explicit with a French bistro-style dinner.

The restaurant on Saturday will celebrate the release of Beaujolais Noveau by giving its kitchen staff a chance to flaunt their fine dining backgrounds; although the a la carte menu hasn’t yet been released , owner Joey Ryan says it will consist of traditional French dishes.

“Music to match,” he promises.

La Fourchette Closing This Week

AR-307089906.jpg&maxw=640&q=100Confirming a rumor first reported this morning by Eater Charleston, La Fourchette today announced its imminent closure.

According to a press release, chef and owner Perig Goulet sold the eight-year old French bistro to Hall Hospitality Group LLC, which operates the adjoining Halls Chophouse. Halls has not yet revealed how it intends to use the space.

The release doesn’t list an exact date for the closing, but it’s scheduled to occur “this week.”

“I will be back,” Goulet is quoted as saying. “Bonsoir y’all.”