National Waitstaff Day was May 21st, and while we always value the Mille Fleurs community, it was a nice reminder to take a moment to appreciate the very special qualities that each staff member brings to our work environment. Several of our employees have been with us for quite a while – a couple for more than 30 years! – and we understand how rare that is in the restaurant industry. We are the Mille Fleurs Family!…
Read on for a brief but genuine profile of a few members of our team who have truly helped to shape the Mille Fleurs that we all know and love today.
Of Course, Chef Martin has worked here since 1985, the year of inception of the restaurant and so has Evelyn and Bruno who both started at Mille Fleurs opening day January 3 1985..
Evelyn worked as a hostess and part-time bartender, while Bruno was initially hired as a bus boy, but then quickly worked his way up to captain. They have been a part of some interesting years at Mille Fleurs, Evelyn remembers visits from Julia Child, Victor Mature, and Ann Blyth, while over the years Bruno has waited on Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan plus a variety of celebrities including Dustin Hoffman, Ann Bancroft, Mel Brooks, Pierce Brosnan, Charlize Theron and many many others…
Lara, one of our bartenders has been with Mille Fleurs since 1996, and Ramon since 1999. Ramon was hired as a busser, and now 17 years later is our lead food runner and in charge of the wine cellar. Lara started as a busser, and spent a few years hostessing and cocktailing before settling into her current position as a bartender. In many ways her family has been a pivotal part of the Mille Fleurs legacy, as both her older and younger sisters have worked here as well and still do.
Marko joined us in 2003 as a captain, but started working the door just 2 months later at Bertrand’s urging. He is now lead Maitre d’ and sommelier. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of interacting with him you know how perfectly suited he is for his position, and we feel lucky to have him orchestrating our guest dining experience.
At Mille Fleurs we are much like a family, and we create and cultivate relationships that sustain us as an establishment, and also as individuals who have come together with a common passion. We are proud of our history, and of the people who have been here with us along the way. On National Waitstaff Day, and every day, we celebrate the unique contributions of our staff members and hope that our shared dedication to our vision and craft continues to excite and welcome you, our valued customers. Cheers to the past, and the future – it’s all happening here, at Mille Fleurs!
Rosé Champagne, of course!!! It just looks the part, you know: a soft hue like the color of her lips or skin, than the effervescence of the wine completes the charm of the drink and, of course the amazing taste: Rosés tend to have a bit more red fruit aroma and flavor than regular Champagne, fresh aromas of strawberries or raspberries often accompany the other typical aromas. In flavor and mouthfeel they also tend to be a bit richer, bigger and rounder. Rosé Champagne can accompany all sorts of food, as can blanc Champagne, however, as everyone knows, much Champagne is enjoyed simply for its celebratory feeling and Rosé Champagne has that added “sexiness” or romance to it that makes it a favorite for romantic dinners.
Now, for the technical part, so you know: Rosé Champagnes represent about 5% of Champagne’s yearly production; they are colored in hues that go from “baby pink” to copper salmon. The color traditionally comes from the very brief skin contact of the red grapes Pinot noir (mainly) and Pinot Meunier during pressing, however, many modern Rosé Champagnes are produced as regular Champagnes but are later “colored up” by adding red Pinot noir wines to the finished wine, it is now believed that this second method adds more richness and age-ability to the wine. A “saignée” process is also acceptable but it is rarely used in Champagne nowadays.
So now that you know “everything” about Rosé Champagne, do not forget to raise a glass of the nectar with your Valentine!
I moved to America in July of 1985. Coming here changed my career path and I pursued cooking. Before joining Chef Martin at Mille Fleurs, I attained a degree in Business Administration and worked briefly for the French national railway. At the time, Chef Martin was my boyfriend.
My culinary fate was actually decided for me, when I was delivered on a kitchen table. I grew up on a farm in the southwest part of France near Toulouse. From sunrise to sunset my family’s main preoccupation was, “What is the next meal?” I should say food is a culture in my family.
I also had the opportunity in middle school to spend time at a pastry shop that was owned by my best friend’s father. I loved his giant display of chocolate Easter eggs. At the time I was mainly there to enjoy his pastries, not to learn….if only I knew what the future held.
My dessert menu changes every month and a half. The choice is dictated by the season, inspiration of internet, and of course by the customer’s favorite dishes such as our Beggars Purse and the crème brulee.
Many people ask me how you have been able to work with your husband. The secret to working with your husband is to stay clear and out of each other’s way with much respect. Especially when you have two strong and stubborn personalities! At Mille Fleurs I call him CHEF like everyone else.
If I had to name my favorite dessert, I would have to say that chocolate is my daily fix. But I have fond memories of my mom’s Oeufs a la Neige. It’s a light dessert consisting of meringue floating on crème anglais. I will never forget the first dessert that I ate in Germany, Rhubarb Compote. I asked Martin later, “This sour thing is called dessert in Germany?”
Many co-workers have a smile on their face when I taste, because I don’t taste I EAT!!!
The Elusive White Asparagus
Every spring, white asparagus makes a brief appearance, and if you blink you might miss it. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, why is white asparagus so hard to find? It’s because there’s a demand for it and chefs consider it a rare spring delicacy.
The reason for white asparagus being white is the way it is grown. The asparagus is covered in a thick layer of sandy dirt as they grow so that no sunlight reaches it. The lack of exposure to sunlight robs their chance of turning green. The process, termed etiolation, creates pale white asparagus spears that have a more delicate flavor than their green cousins, takes longer to cook and costs 3-4 times more, making it a great dinner conversation.
At Mille Fleurs we will be serving this rare vegetable in a variety of ways including our Fresh White Asparagus in orange blossom honey vinaigrette, soft poached quail egg and San Daniele prosciutto, our White Asparagus Soup with Nasturtium cream, chervil and cinnamon croutons and a Trilogy of White Asparagus that is pan fried in bread crumbs, poached in vinaigrette and asparagus velouté.
Despite its name, it has no relation to Jerusalem, it was in fact cultivated by the Native Americans long before the arrival of Europeans, Champlain, the French explorer of the Americas brought the plant back to Europe where it became a very common vegetable under the name “topinambour”, also called sunchoke. It is a member of the daisy family and, above ground, resembles the garden sunflower, its tuber, the edible part, has a taste similar to an artichoke. Chef Martin gathers it at Chino’s farm and uses it in various recipes. His favorite is Jerusalem artichoke soup with black truffle sea salt and duck cracklings buts he also produces sunchoke chips for beautiful salads or as an aromatic velvety purée served with firm fleshed seafood, meat or vegetarian dishes.
The season has arrived for that succulent delight, the king of melons: the Melon deCavaillon, the most famous of the Cantaloupes. The American Cantaloupe is in fact a muskmelon, way different from the Cavaillon.
The melon originated in India, then arrived in Italy via Africa, it was cultivated as a delicacy in the papal garden of the village of Cantaloupe (hence the name), then made its way to South East France when the papacy moved to Avignon in 1495, but its real fame goes back to the 19th century as train transport made it possible for all of France and Europe to discover its amazing flavor, then became Melon the Cavaillon, named after the train station it was expedited from.
Its flavor is that of honeyed concentrate of apricot, passion fruit and banana at perfect ripeness.Through the course of summer we will serve it as an appetizer or a dessert, using it indifferent cold soups, with cured meats, steeped in Port wine, in carpaccio, with assorted fruitsand in ice creamsand sorbets just to name a few of Chef’s creations.
May is already here, and I think it is now a perfect time to have lunch or dinner on our courtyard patio. During the month of May, to accommodate the new spring produce, I create many different salads, served either as an appetizer or an entrée if you are looking for a light meal: maybe a vegetarian salad with some exceptional artisan cheese, one with home smoked trout or sautéed fresh quail or with prime beef carpaccio. Of course the grilled chicken breast salad with beets, French lentils and grain mustard dressing, as well as the lobster salad with avocado, papaya and citrus dressing are always one of our guest’s favorite. On hot days, I will serve chilled vegetarian soups, for example: a chilled fresh pea soup with mint and grapefruit or a chilled green zucchini soup with curry and parmesan crisp.
Fresh seasonal seafood also comes to mind when I design my lunch and dinner menu: I can’t wait for the wild trolled pacific king salmon or the fresh live soft-shell crabs to come in season this month. The classic fresh Dover sole is requested by many of our guests and it is prepared with a medley of chino’s farm vegetables, brown butter and lemon juice. I am also serving quenelles (I have been surprised by the inquiries), quenelles are delicate football shape dumplings, made out of trout, or pike or salmon. Many guests tell me that no one makes quenelles anymore, a super classical French dish and they are very happy to find them on the menu.
I also noticed that quite a few inspired lunch guests will stop at Chino’s Farm to purchase some of the ingredients they had for lunch or dinner, they are not disappointed as there can find a bounty of new produce right now at the stand.
See you soon in our courtyard or maybe at Chino’s farm.
It is almost spring time and I am very excited to be serving fresh white asparagus from Holland again. Fresh cut white asparagus is a very sustainable product and a European favorite, it is only available from mid March until the beginning of June and many european restaurants typically present an entire menu with white asparagus featured in every dish during that time of the year. There is even an annual festival to honor the asparagus lily. The real secret to growing white asparagus is covering the stalks with sandy dirt as they grow a certain height. The lack of exposure to sunlight robs their chance of turning grassy green. White asparagus needs to be peeled very meticulously since the skin is very tough, it also needs to be cooked longer than traditional green asparagus and costs 4 to 5 times more.
I know that in my homeland of Germany “Spargel” is most often served as the center piece of the meal. Each guest has 5-8 spears of asparagus on the plate and then chooses from at least two sauces (melted butter and Hollandaise), cooked or dried ham slices, and boiled new potatoes. At the restaurant, I serve the white asparagus as a light appetizer in a orange blossom honey vinaigrette, with thin sliced prosciutto and a soft boiled quail egg. I also prepare a vegetarian white asparagus soup that is served with cinnamon croutons and garnished with spring flower petals which is very popular as a starter.
I will be happy to talk more about white asparagus with you at your visit to the restaurant anytime soon. But remember to request the delicacy when you make your reservation, since it sells out very fast every day as the season goes on.
My name is Angela Osborne and I’ve been at Mille Fleurs for two years. In my role, I seem to handle a little – and sometimes a lot – of everything, from the restaurant’s daily finances and staff schedules to keeping our seasonally changing menus precise. One part of my position is by far my favorite: event planning.
Call me a perfectionist, but I love coordinating all the details that come together to make each occasion unique. I consider it my personal duty to ensure that a Mille Fleurs event is never a “cookie cutter” event! I take a lot of pride in this part of my job, and I love that the positive feedback is so instantaneous; it’s right there on guests’ faces while they’re here at the restaurant.
My favorite Mille Fleurs events are those marking a pivotal time in someone’s life: wedding receptions, rehearsals, baby showers and more. I love seeing everyone enjoying the restaurant’s beautiful setting and knowing that I was able to be a part of creating that experience for them.
As recent examples of my favorite types of events, I was lucky enough to be a part of two weddings held on site last September, and both called for attention to detail – which you know by now I love. At the first wedding, we had fun replicating the bride and groom’s signature cocktails throughout the day. At the second wedding we created a secret entrance/exit for the bride to sneak out to take pictures without being seen by any of her guests. I wanted both ceremonies to be exactly what the couples wanted, and with the help of our amazing kitchen and front-of-house staff, I was so proud of what we were able to execute.
I’m excited to being a part of more unique and special events and can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to do for our guests this year! To book your special event at Mille Fleurs, visit our events page here. Further information is also available on our detailed events page, and of course you’re welcome to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the restaurant at (858) 756-3085.
A great thing about being a chef in Rancho Santa Fe is being close to Chino Farms, where I’ve shopped almost every day since 1985. It’s been my routine to start my work day at the Chino Farms stand. This time of the year you will notice the beautifully arranged cauliflower heads glowing in four different colors: there are yellow – or what some call “golden cauliflower” – green cauliflower, purple cauliflower and of course the popular snow white variety. I’m routinely asked which I like the most and my boring answer is always, “Ah, they’re all delicious. I like them all.”
However, I must say that I don’t enjoy eating cauliflower raw, and in all my years growing up in my home country of Germany I never saw anyone eat raw cauliflower. I think it tastes so much better when steamed, and if not steamed it should be parboiled in lightly salted water. It can be enjoyed still warm in a light dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and grated parmesan, or it can be pan fried in bread crumbs after being coated with slightly whipped egg whites (for this, use clarified butter or canola oil). Cauliflower can also be served with homemade mayonnaise, capers, anchovies and hard boiled quail eggs or chopped hard boiled hen eggs – and don’t forget to garnish your dish with some green leaves of arugula, frisée or mizuna.
During a recent dinner I served a small “amuse” of purple cauliflower soup sprinkled with toasted almonds and a dash of sharp parmesan. It was a big hit! Yet, I still think my mother made the best cauliflower preparation (of course, who doesn’t think Mom was the best cook?). She would remove the leaves and cut it up in big bite size florets, boil them in just enough water to get them soft and remove them from the (now tasty) water. Then, she would add our cow’s fresh milk to the water and boil it, thickening it with a flour and butter paste. After boiling this cream sauce for about 10 minutes, the cauliflower would go back into the sauce, which would be seasoned with very little salt and a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg, this preparation is so easy and tastes so good…
And, just one more note about steaming or boiling multi-color cauliflower: Keep the purple cauliflower separate from the other colors. Like red beets, it will stain.
I’ll tell you about my current favorite vegetable next month, but in the meantime I suggest you take the time to cook your cauliflower. It really tastes so much better than raw!