French chef Joël Robuchon is regarded as the one of the best chefs of the last century, having garnered more Michelin stars than any other chef in the world, a staggering total of 28, and been awarded the titles of ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’ and ‘Chef of The Century’.
He has created L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, a restaurant whose famed countertop dining experience has become known as one of the world’s most unique culinary spectacles. The centre piece of the chic red and black dining room is an exotic wood counter with an open kitchen where chefs can be viewed crafting innovative and beautifully presented dishes. Guests are seated on high chairs around the counter where they are served sushi-style.
Robuchon opened his flagship Atelier in Paris, but he has since created something of a worldwide empire with restaurants in Paris, Bangkok, Hongkong, Las Vegas, London, Tokyo and more . .
The food at ‘Les Ateliers’, or rather, Robuchons creations, are a marvel to behold and delight to taste. Dishes include caviar served on a soft poached egg in a crispy rice batter, cod fillet in an aromatic vegetable broth, print of fresh herbs, or seared scallop with a smoked potato mousseline and sage jus.
One of Robuchon’s signature dishes is refreshingly simple though; his renowned super-creamy potato puree made with Ratte potatoes and plenty of butter. This is one you can actually try at home. Note: The Ratte is a small potato with a unique nutty flavour and smooth, buttery texture. The variety originated in France or Denmark in the late 19th century. It is the potato preferred by Chef Joël Robuchon for making his mashed potatoes, but you can substitute for potatoes of your own choice such as fingerlings or Yukons.
The recipe is as follows:
500 grams Ratte potatoes
250 grams chilled unsalted high quality French butter cut into small pieces*
Hot Milk, as needed 1/2 -3/4 cup
salt to taste
* the classic Robuchon mashed potatoes, as served at the L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, use a ratio of potatoes:butter = 2:1. However, more conservative cooks can reduce this almighty rich ration to 4:1
Scrub the potatoes and cook them in their skins in salt water. Simmer uncovered over moderate heat for 20-30 minutes or until a knife can easily be inserted and removed. As soon as the potatoes are done remove and drain. Do not allow them to sit in the water.
Meanwhile, bring the milk just to a boil in a medium sized saucepan and set aside.
Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut into pieces. Then put the potato pieces into a large saucepan.
Place the pan over low heat and stir the potatoes to dry them out (approximately 4-5 minutes).
Begin adding 3/4 of the butter, little by little vigorously stirring until the butter is incorporated.
Slowly add the milk in a thin stream (a little at a time) till the desired consistency is reached. Stir vigorously till all the milk is incorporated. Then stir the puree with a whisk to incorporate air and make the puree fluffy.
Pass the puree through a sieve to further lighten and smooth the dish. This can be repeated 2 or 3 times for to make the puree silky smooth. Taste for seasoning.
Serve with main dish and enjoy!