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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

A Menu To Celebrate Julia Child’s Genius

Last year’s nationwide celebration commemorating the 100th birthday of beloved chef, author and culinary personality Julia Child sparked an enthusiasm for “Julia” food that has not yet diminished. As more than 100 restaurants around the country dedicated a week last August to celebrate Child, her work, her passion and her vibrant personality, restaurant guests responded with enthusiasm worthy of the grand dame herself. At Brasserie Du Vin, the response from customers to the classic French menu of cheese soufflé, roasted chicken with cream and mushrooms, and tarte tatin was so positive that the restaurant has decided to dedicate the entire month of August to French cuisine.

“It was a really popular menu,” says executive chef Marco Elder. “We had to keep our Julia Child dishes on the menu for days after the official celebration on Aug. 15.”

Elder is no stranger to the joys of cooking Julia-style. He had an early introduction to the chef through his grandmother. The two ladies were members of the same country club, and Marco was exposed to classic French cooking at an early age when his grandmother gifted him her copy of Child’s cookbook The Joy of Cooking.

“I have been inspired by Julia Child for a long time,” says the chef. “In culinary school, I would come home and read her recipes and techniques to make sure I didn’t miss anything.”

You’ll find lots of gorgeous examples of Marco’s respect for Child on the Brasserie Du Vin menu this month, including baked zucchini with Naked Cow Dairy fromage blanc; pan-broiled steak with béarnaise sauce and roasted fingerling potatoes; sweet onion, olive and sun-dried tomato tarte slow-roasted Jidori chicken in a rich red wine broth with hearty root vegetables, salad Nicoise, braised veal sweetbreads, lardons (curly endive lettuce with bacon and poached eggs) and roasted duck breast with orange sauce are just a few of the special items being featured through August.

Known for its pastries and desserts, Brasserie Du Vin also offers French-inspired sweet treats such as chocolate almond cake, Rum Baba and a near-perfect tarte tatin while they last.

More details of the menus are online at brasserieduvin.com

Chefs on the move this month include one of Hawaii’s most interesting ones. Jon Matsubara (most recently of Stage then Azure) is taking his unique culinary style to Japengo, Hyatt’s testament to Pacific Rim/Pan Asian cuisine with a contemporary twist. Matsubara brings an excellent pedigree to the restaurant, and also brings a commitment to using local ingredients and a passion for cutting edge techniques. At Azure restaurant, where Matsubara formerly was executive chef, menu items included the largest offerings of fresh island fish in Honolulu and decadent dishes such as Dungeness crab-stuffed Kona lobster paired with hand-crafted cocktails and wine.

No news yet on how the Japengo menu will change, but guests can expect Matsubara to bring his unique skills to the kitchen.

Watch this space …

Happy eating!

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