Hello from France!

Yesterday, I visited where I’ll be interning at. Lenotre has a production facility in a small town called Plaisir where they produce baked goods for 15 shops in Paris. I drove there by myself and almost got killed on the round-abouts – but I made it! I had to wear a funny trash bag with arms and a shower cap (charlot) and mask – and saw workers making macarons and cakes and stuff . The factory is called a laboratoire in French.

So the internship director spoke English thankfully, but then I met 4 or 5 chefs that only spoke French that day. I said “Bonjour, Je m’appelle Ivy” (my name is Ivy) and then totally blanked on how to say “Nice to meet you” which is “Enchante” so I was just mute and smiled and nodded.

It’s like I’m almost afraid to speak French because I think I’ll receive a torrent of French and be completely confused. But so far I’ve ordered a sandwich in French and asked where someone’s office was and when they’ll be returning. Basically I think when you’re forced to speak the language, it just comes rushing out. But my discomfort is definitely not as bad as when I was in China! France is more like America, so I’m very comfortable here. When I lived in China for 4 months, it was a big nightmare to navigate…booking hotels and airline tickets and all that jazz…and add in bad air quality and unscrupulous employees always trying to cheat you…

So I’m feverishly studying my French verb conjugations…but I honestly cannot understand anybody. I can read mostly, speak a little, but have nearly no oral comprehension skills hehe. But everyone sounds so beautiful and sing-songy!

I arrived in France two days ago, and walked around Paris near the Champs Elysee and Arc de Triomphe. Been eating fresh croissants and butter flecked with fleur de sel (sea salt) for breakfast YUM! and made these quenelles of brochet (a fish mousse) in a bechamel sauce. The quenelles came in a can, and I made a bechamel sauce from scratch with a roux and all … butter and flour and some half-cream organic milk 🙂 Then I made confit canard (preserved duck cooked in duck fat – also from  can), with some frozen roasted potatoes (in a duck fat sauce), and then finished it off with fresh haricot verts (green beans) sauteed in more duck fat! Mmm!

Pictures to come!


Categories: France


Ivy Dai is a chef, food writer and food TV host. The California native is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles and has trained with renowed pastry chefs at Hediard and Lenotre in France.


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