Acclaimed Chef François de Mélogue Launches Kickstarter Campaign for his New Provençal Cookbook, Cuisine of the Sun: A Ray of Sunshine on Your Plate
de Mélogue emerges as leading proponent of contemporary and traditional renditions of the flavorful cuisine from the south of France and surrounding regions.
(MediaQuire) Chef François de Mélogue Launches Kickstarter Campaign. As a beloved culinary Renaissance man, Chef François de Mélogue can be described in many esteemed ways: Extraordinary chef, respected culinary historian, adventurer (culinary and otherwise), creative food photographer, articulate writer and blogger about all things culinary, a comedian, a Jimi Hendrix aficionado and now, cookbook author. He has built a loyal following across the country due to the wonderful food he has prepared in some of the nation’s most memorable restaurants.
Chef de Mélogue now celebrates a new milestone in his stellar career: the Kickstarter launch campaign (link goes live at 1 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 15, 2015) of his first cookbook, Cuisine of the Sun: A Ray of Sunshine on Your Plate. The goal is to release the cookbook in mid-December, in time for holiday gift giving.
Cuisine of the Sun fulfills de Mélogue’s dream of inspiring cooks of all skill levels to revel in and enjoy the marvelously varied food from the south of France and surrounding regions. “My cooking style is vibrant and fresh with Provençal roots,” de Mélogue said. “The cookbook is a collection of reimagined Provençal recipes that will ‘bring a ray of sunshine to your plate.'”
Through his beautifully photographed and inspired collection of recipes, de Mélogue now emerges as a leading proponent of both contemporary and traditional renditions of the flavorful cuisine from the south of France and surrounding regions.
“This book is the culmination of a lifetime spent relentlessly dreaming of food while toiling away in hot kitchens, both professional and at home,” he said. “My life story is that of son of a French immigrant mother whose Provençal culture and joie de vivre founded and shaped the food lover and person I am today. My goal is to teach home cooks to adopt a few restaurant techniques and methodologies that help them create simple, inspired food. I hope to convey to people that cooking is love and that, similarly to the way a jazz musician riffs on song standards, this is my riff on Provençal and cooking in general,” he said. “For example, if you have a recipe for black cod and you don’t have black cod, do not be paralyzed by fear that the dish will not turn out. Get another fish and keep marching forward.”
As an enthusiastic promoter of Provençal cuisine, de Mélogue also plans to host culinary tours, cooking classes, and share his inside views of all things culinary in Provence. With his culinary tours, he wants to share his love of the cuisine and the region with American food lovers who seek a personalized experience with a chef, not a typical tour group.
Provençal cuisine comes naturally enough for de Mélogue. He grew up in Chicago as the son of two French parents and he spent his childhood summers in Marseilles, France, where his extended family members were in the restaurant business. He was immersed in the aromas and flavorful freshness of this cuisine from the time he was a small child.
He is a lifelong student as well as practitioner of the art of Provençal cooking, as reflected in his collection of more than 2,000 cookbooks, many of historic merit. The more he has learned about this cuisine, the more he understands that the food of Provence and the Mediterranean regions beyond, which were the major trade hubs connecting Europe, Asia and Africa, is the living history of Western food as we know it today. The cuisine that developed in this region is a rich amalgam of flavors and ingredients introduced by the many groups of people who traversed the region throughout the centuries. “It’s the history of man on a plate,” as de Mélogue likes to say.
About Chef François de Mélogue
Throughout his lifetime, Chef François de Mélogue has developed an extraordinary palate and masterful technique in preparing Provençal and Mediterranean food. His résumé reflects his natural talent and keen culinary sensibility. After graduating at the top in his class from the notable New England Culinary Institute, De Mélogue began his career in a number of highly acclaimed kitchens across the country, including Chef Louis Szathmary’s restaurant The Bakery in Chicago, the Old Drovers Inn, a Relais and Chateaux property in New York, and Joel Robuchon’s Gastronomie restaurant in Paris. In 2003 he was the opening chef for the award-winning restaurant Pili Pili in Chicago, rated in the Top Ten new restaurants in the World by Food and Wine magazine in 2003.
Ever the culinary adventurer, de Mélogue has worked on Prince Edward Island in Canada and in wine country in Mendocino County, California, always establishing a stellar reputation wherever he has cooked. In 2013 he was chosen, after an extensive search, to be the executive chef of the highly regarded Figue Restaurant & Bar Mediterranean in La Quinta, California. It was an acclaimed showcase for his cuisine and was named the best restaurant in the Palm Springs area.
He has made many appearances on television and radio including an exhilarating experience as the winner of Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network.
Chef de Mélogue is extremely partial to locally produced, high-quality ingredients and he is a devotee of Chef Robuchon’s culinary philosophy of “Cuisine Actuelle,” which showcases the natural flavor in the ingredients used to create the dishes. He specializes in simply prepared Mediterranean-inspired cuisine that is enhanced by his appreciation and knowledge of fine wine, craft beer, charcuterie and cheese. In line with his belief that food should be prepared without unnecessary distractions or alterations, Chef de Mélogue creates honest, healthy and delicious cuisine that is approachable and always delightful.
For more information about the Cuisine of the Sun cookbook please visit the Kickstarter campaign at bit.ly/KickstartSunshine.
Artichoke Tarte Tatin
caramelized fennel and onion, goat cheese, olive emulsion
Chef François de Mélogue
Growing up I learned to cook at my other’s apron strings. She made a lot of tarte Tatins over the course of my childhood. When I became Chef of a Southern French restaurant in Chicago I decided to honor her Provençal roots with a savory interpretation using the classic flavors of artichokes, fennel, goat cheese and olives. It became a signature dish that followed me throughout my career. You can prep the tart a few hours before eating and then cook at the last minute. Try serving the tart with a simple green salad dressed in a vinaigrette or with roasted beets.
½ red pepper, sliced
½ fennel bulb, sliced
½ sweet onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
4 large artichokes, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
10 pitted Niçoise olives, chopped
2 egg yolks
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
Assemble the tart
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
4 puff pastry circles
Sauté red pepper, fennel and sweet onion in olive oil till soft and lightly caramelized. Season with sea salt and pepper then reserve artichoke. Trim artichokes using a serrated paring knife till all the outer leaves are removed and there are no more bitter dark green spots. Cut the top off just above the bottom and use a teaspoon to scoop out the choke. Cook in rapidly boiling salted water with olive oil and sliced lemon till a paring knife easily pierces the bottoms, about ten minutes.
Mix chopped olives with egg yolks, black pepper and vinegar. Whisk over boiling water till light and creamy. Combine olive oil and butter then slowly whisk into eggs. This sauce uses the same methods as making a Hollandaise.
Assemble the tart
Drizzle a little olive oil in four small blini pans. Slice artichokes thinly and fan out in the pans. Top with a generous tablespoon of the caramelized vegetables, shaved Parmesan, ½ an ounce of goat cheese then press a circle of puff pastry. The puff pastry should be a slightly larger diameter than the pan you are using. Push the edges firmly around the artichoke. Bake at 450 degrees till golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Flip out onto a warmed plate, top with a spoonful of olive emulsion and enjoy!