This New Cookbook Will Inspire You To Cook Like You’re French

You don't need to be French to cook like the French.

You don't need to be French to cook like the French, just take it from chef Marcia Ochsner, Le Cordon Bleu Paris alumni and author of the new cookbook, Cooking in the South of France. She wasn't born French nor does she permanently reside in France but French cooking is what makes her happiest in the kitchen. 

Chef Marcia took time to take questions during her cooking demo.
Photo by Courtesy of Le Cordon Bleu Ateneo de Manila.

Chef Marcia has been all over the world for the past twenty years. She has been to kitchens in Brazil, Germany, Portugal, Malaysia, and Australia. Originally from Brazil, she now lives in Germany with her husband. However, France has her heart, so much so that every chance they get, she and her husband would drive twelve hours to their little house in the South of France.

It's in that quaint beautiful house that Chef Marcia worked on her book last year. For three months, she cooked and photographed, "recipes I like to cook, and my family likes to eat." This cookbook to her is, "very personal." She began working on it six years ago but had to stop to get treatment for cancer. Thankfully, last year, with her husband and her son motivating her to pursue her passion, today she is doing a tour for her beautiful cookbook around Le Cordon Bleu's campuses around the world.

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At the cooking demo held for the launch of her cookbook at the Le Cordon Bleu Ateneo campus, she prepared three dishes from her cookbook: a piquant gazpacho, a savory flammenkuchen, and a light carrot cake. The cooking demo in Manila is just one stop in her long global itinerary which includes the Shanghai and Seoul Le Cordon Bleu campuses.

This refreshing antipasto is just what you need.
Photo by Courtesy of Le Cordon Bleu Ateneo de Manila.

Gazpacho is a cold soup she didn't have to alter much from what she first learned in respect to the classics. However, she did give it an update. Made with sweet watermelons, tart tomatoes, cayenne pepper, and a range of delicious spices, all those beautiful, bright flavors pop in your mouth.

It's ridiculously crispy and flavorful!
Photo by Jasper Castro

This German pizza, flammenkuchen, that can also be found in some parts of France, came to be after World War II when farmers took what was available to make a quick dish. They slathered sour cream and whatever bacon they had and cooked it in their preheating wood oven. 

In Chef Marcia's take, the stretched out, unleavened dough is topped with creme fraiche, wine-soaked onions, and slivers of smoked duck. The duck she uses comes from France, from their revered mallard de canard, the fat duck that is harvested for foie gras. "Everything is possible to be French," Chef Marcia declares.

This carrot cake is unlike any other and all the participants were lucky enough to get the recipe.
Photo by Jasper Castro

The light carrot cake, on the other hand, is a truly personal recipe she made for her husband. Unlike most heavy, oily carrot cakes, this one is extremely light and moist, while delivering that sweet carrot flavor. For the cooking demo, for decoration, she used local pili nuts which she finds delicious.

Our pili nuts go wonderfully with this unique carrot cake.
Photo by Courtesy of Le Cordon Bleu Ateneo de Manila University

It's safe to say that Chef Marcia is simply reaping the rewards, being able to travel and taste what else the world offers. In her 3 years in Le Cordon Bleu, she had days that went from seven in the morning to 10:30 pm with only one 30-minute break. In spite of the challenge, she graduated with honors. That passion is what got Le Cordon Bleu onboard with her cookbook, writing the preface, and editing the whole book to reach Le Cordon Bleu textbook excellence.

Cooking In the South Of France by Marcia Ochsner is available on Amazon.

Le Cordon Bleu Ateneo de Manila is at G/F George SK Ty Learning Innovation Wing, Arete, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. For more information, you may call (632) 426-6001 local 5380 and (0956) 891-0922or email [email protected] or follow them on Facebook

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