The Home Chef is a series that uncovers closely guarded recipes of the city’s most notable chefs, so that you, amateur home-cook, can, too, recreate restaurant-grade meals in the comforts of your own kitchen. Makeshift tea-towel aprons at the ready. A dear friend (or furry pup!) appointed as designated taste-tester. Served with a sweet chef’s kiss, naturally. Bon appétit!
Before there are any qualms of this Louise edition not being the famed, favourited and enthusiastically fawned about whole-roasted yellow chicken, skim-read on. The reputed one-star French establishment, is currently a chosen stop on Japanese brand ANAORI’s Naturality Tour that stars over 24 global chefs, where its latest culinary invention, the kakugama pot — tinkered with new technologies and carbon graphite innovation — is currently touring its Asia leg. Louise as the second location marks the event with a special six-course menu, then it’s a continuing journey through Bo.Lan in Bangkok, Raw in Taipei, Masque in Mumbai, Ritz Carlton in Singapore before finally concluding in Obscura in Shanghai. Naturally then, it warrants precedent for a mention, especially with the opportunity to pilfer one of Louise’s executive chef Franckelie Laloum’s dear-to-heart recipes, prepared using the impressive ANAORI kakugama pot.
Louise is a destination that needs no introduction. The PMQ resident, beloved for its airy, colonial-chic interiors, is frequented for its refined French plates that still holds true to homey comforts and time-honoured culinary heritage. It’s “traditional French food, reimagined” in a stylish space that similarly revives the well-worn edifices of stately châteaux of South of France vineyards with a sophisticated, eclectic mix of plush textures, natural tones and vibrant patterns.
Chef Laloum, a French native with impressive Michelin stints including time at Maison Pic with chef Anne-Sophie Pic, continues Louise’s chef-founder Julien Royer’s vision of unpretentious, classically French dishes that honour the natural ingredients of the region. A sentiment that very much aligns to those of Japanese cookware brand ANAORI, and in particular, the kakugama pot, created especially for maintaining authenticity of each culinary experience.
Visually on the exterior, the kakugama is a minimalistic cube. Concealed inside, however, is a conventional rounded base inspired by the traditional hagama (“kakugama”, a trendier expression for ‘angular pot’). Carved from a singular carbon graphite — an are of expertise for ANAORI — for a far more efficient and consistent heat retention than cooking with charcoal, the ultra-sleek, kitchen-appliance-from-the-future-esque pot emits heat five times more than traditional cast iron pan. It’s engineered with ample versatility, and spans from grilling and frying to poaching, steaming and simmering that is easily compatible to all everyday kitchen appliances — gas stoves, induction hob and traditional ovens. Possible the ultimate culinary tool to own in every sense — one-pot meals, intensive stews, perfectly seared steaks — designed for cooks of all merits, first-time amateurs to starred seasoned chefs. Five-stars meals, always guaranteed.
Chef Laloum’s Laurent Berrurier Vegetables, Mint and Black Truffle-infused “Minestrone”
In continuation of Louise’s tradition-meet-modern cooking, the limited-time ANAORI’s six-course menu — available until 18 July — is devised by chef Laloum and features three select dishes that demonstrates the kakugama pot’s various functions to good use. A grilled duck foie gras, braised veal cheek and, with the recipe just a scroll below, a minestrone-style broth with fresh Laurent Berrurier veggies and infused with mint and black truffle. Inspired by the quintessentially summertime dish, minestrones are evocative of balmy Mediterranean summers out on terraces (Louise’s own luscious outdoor patio, also a worthy rival).
“I chose to feature this “Minestrone” as it is a very traditional and popular dish in France and Italy. Not only is the soup comforting and delicious, it is full of so many vegetables and fresh ingredients.” Chef Laloum explained. “This soup is a traditional summertime dish in both France and Italy. My father would made minestrone soup for us with a whole range of difference vegetables, ordinarily finished with a touch of basil.”
In chef Laloum’s edition, the basil is replaced with truffle, mint and mint oil for a tiny touch of decadence that elevates the hearty staple and is slow-simmered in the kakugama pot for two hours which fortifies the bright-and-bold ingredients of the soup. “The kakugama brings out the flavour of vegetables in the “Minestrone”. There are nine vegetables and the kakugama pot brings out the flavours of each one well.” Chef Laloum says. And should you not scarf down the pot’s entire contents in one sitting, the kakugama, as you now know, is expert at retaining heat and will continue to keep the “Minestrone” warm and the flavours of the veg delicious.
Ingredients for Laurent Berrurier Vegetables, Mint and Black Truffle-infused “Minestrone” (Serves 8)
|25g||Girolle Mushrooms (small)|
For Vegetable Stock
|10g||Dried Shiitake Mushrooms|
|1/2 lemon||Lemon Zest|
|1 teaspoon||Salt (To taste)|
- To make Vegetable Stock:
- Peel and clean all of the vegetables for the stock and chop them into large pieces. Throw all of the vegetables into the kakugama pot and add the water.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to very low and cook for two hours.
- Turn the heat off on the kakugama, allow the stock to infuse for one more hour, and strain and cool the vegetable stock.
- To make “Minestrone” Soup:
- Clean and cut all of the vegetables into small, uniform cubes apart from the peas and girolles, which should be left whole.
- Once the vegetables are cubed, put two tablespoons of olive oil into the kakugama and add the potatoes and fry for one minute.
- After frying the potatoes for one minute, add carrots and fry slowly for one minute. After one minute, add one piece of crushed garlic to the pot.
- Next, add the vegetable stock and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add a pinch of salt and add the celery and turnip and cook for 2-3 minutes with the cover on.
- Add the French beans, zucchini and cabbage and cook for 2-3 minutes with the cover on.
- Finally, add the girolle mushrooms and the peas, cover and turn off the heat on the kakugama.
- After two minutes, add ⅓ of a bunch of mint, add the chopped truffle and mint oil and replace the cover, allowing the soup to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Finally, remove the cover, take out the mint leaves and season to taste.
Chef Laloum’s “Minestrone” Soup is available for order at Louise on the limited-time ANAORI menu until 18 July. The six course menu is currently priced at HK$1,588. Reservations can be made here. Orders for the ANAORI kakugama pot, available in either 5.1 litres (USD 3,490, approx HK$27,103) or a smaller 3.4 litres (USD 2,490, approx HK$19,337), can be placed here.