5@5 - French dishes to try before you die
December 1st, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Jean Joho knows a thing or deux about French food.

For one, he is French (that generally helps).

And two, Chef Jean Joho began his formal chef training as an apprentice at the acclaimed L'Auberge de L'Ill in Alsace, France - when he was THIRTEEN.

Unsurprisingly so, he's become a well-adorned chef in his own right - currently overseeing Eiffel Tower in Vegas, Brasserie Jo in Boston, as well as Everest and the Paris Club in Chicago.

"There are so many great dishes from France. It is really impossible to narrow it down to just 5, though I have tried my best," says Joho.

"If this list were to be renamed '10@10,' I would also include the French croissant, coq au vin, French macarons and French wine - because in France, nothing is served without it."

Five French Dishes Everyone Should Eat Before They Die: Chef Jean Joho

1. Dover sole meunière
"Meunière is French for 'miller's wife' and is a simple classic dish where the sole, which is only found in coastal European waters, is seasoned, lightly dusted with flour and sautéed in butter. It is then served with beurre meunière, which is flavored with browned butter, lemon and parsley."

2. Lobster Thermidor
"A classic dish and one that hails from Paris. Lobster shells are stuffed with cooked lobster meat in a creamy white wine sauce, spiked with cognac, then served with a oven-browned Gruyère crust. It is expensive in restaurants because there are so many steps, but if you put your mind to it, it is actually not too complicated to cook at home. Always use fresh tarragon in this iconic, luxurious dish."

3. Poulet de Bresse
"The celebrated white-feathered, blue-footed chicken from the Bresse area of the Rhône-Alpes region is reared to exacting standards, which results in a very tender bird with a firm texture and a slightly gamey flavor. It is so highly esteemed that it cannot be found outside of France and commands high prices, not including airfare! However, when you have it roasted you will see that you have never had a chicken like this - it is worth every Euro!"

4. Boeuf Bourguignon
"My good friend Julia Child introduced French cooking to America and this dish is a French staple. However, make no mistake, there are no short cuts! Braised in red wine for hours, the beef has a rich melt-in-your mouth flavor, with a depth that cannot be created any other way. Finished with pearl onions and mushrooms at the final stage, this stew is the ultimate French comfort food."

5. Chocolate profiterole
"These pastry puffs are filled with vanilla bean ice cream and then drizzled with chocolate poured from a pitcher. It is decadent and sweet, but also the flaky pastry gives it a sense of lightness as well. One of my all time favorites."

6. Soufflé
"What did I tell you - I could not stop at five French dishes! This is one that could not be left off any list, a signature French dessert known around the world. Light and airy, delicately flavored, soufflé is a sauce base into which stiffly beaten egg whites are added. It also has the reputation of being extremely temperamental and apt to deflate without notice. Great care must be given to the ingredient list, preparation and baking procedure."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Cuisines • French • Think


soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Goose Jakker

    Where can we make the insurance claim? We are good friends.I fear that he drinks too much.How long have you been here?No littering on the campus.I need your helpI need your helpI smelled a smell of cooking.They hurt.Come to see me whenever you like.
    Goose Jakker http://canadagooseparkadame.moonfruit.com/

    November 28, 2012 at 2:19 am |
  2. VC

    ahhhh French food... the "best" in the world.. more like the most overrated ... ever wonder why you see tons of Chinese, Italians restaurants but never a French restaurant?

    December 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  3. Susan

    I am Acadian and one of our traditional staples is Chicken Fricot. Would highly recommend it! Delicious!

    December 5, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  4. Houstonian

    Ya'll don't be silly. The gentleman was referring to how he ordered Coq au Vin as a child. It was/is a sweet reminder of how innocent an uncomplicated children are.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  5. demogal

    Who can forget escargot on a list like this? YUM

    December 5, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  6. crepemaker

    Glad to see crepes mentioned by other posters. Should by on the top 10 anyway. We make crepes at farmers markets and fairs in the western US. It is a good feeling making crepes and listening to people recall their first crepe eaten while on trips to France or somewhere, or made by their grandmother. Bet they rarely hear that at the drive-thru burger places...

    December 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
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