Chef Jean-Luc Rocha

by Weekend In Paris

Rum baba: Sponge cake, soaked in rum-flavored syrup with strawberries

Rum baba: Sponge cake, soaked in rum-flavored syrup with strawberries

Approachable and effervescent, I first met chef Jean-Luc Rocha when he was the Executive chef at Hotel Cordeillan Bages in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region in Pauillac. I was staying at this Relais & Chateaux property owned by the Cazes’ family, a dream come true for foodies like myself. Delicious eye-candy, plate after plate came my way courtesy of Jean-Luc.

Jean-Luc rocha cordeillan bagesChef Rocha has the tile of Un des Meilleurs Ouviers de France (MOF). This distinction means he gets to wear the blue, white, and red collar around his chef jacket displaying his prestigious honor of being one of the best craftsmen in all of France.

DSC_0486I was a bit early for dinner and thrilled that he invited me to into the kitchen to witness him performing a cooking demonstration and I could not resist a peek at what sauces the sous chefs were working on – oh so colorful and the heavenly aromas from the fresh spices simmering on the stove filled the kitchen with magic.

cazes drink cordeillan bagesBefore diving into the champagne, we tried a Cazes’ family specialty non-alcoholic cocktail. A concoction of lime, lemon, ginger, star anise, verbena and Badoit was a refreshing blend that cooled us off on the hot fall afternoon.

apptetizers cordeillan bages

Amuses bouches

Before heading to the no frills clean and crisp refreshing dining room, we sat amongst the vines with plump grapes ripening those last few days before picking. As the sun was setting, we were feasting on light and airy appetizers created by Jean-Luc.

Jean-Luc’s food wasn’t just gorgeous, it made sense. Each course complimented the last. One of my favorite things about Jean-Luc’s menu is that his food is fun and whimsical. Many French chefs can take cuisine too seriously and it shows in their dishes, but he is able to take serious ingredients and turn them into creative and delicious creations that are memorable on the palette and with the eyes. Feast on these photos – sorry there is no scratch and taste available! You will just have to visit and taste for yourself.

IMG_7977

Oven-baked fillet of meager fish, tartare of tomatoes condiment

Soft steam trout in a champagne sauce

Soft steam trout in a champagne sauce

dinner relais lynch bages

Crab Millefeuille, fennel, star anise and piquillo – cardamom sorbet

Red fruits, liquorice jelly and lemon verbena

Red fruits, liquorice jelly and lemon verbena

Château Cordeillan-Bages

Route des Châteaux
33250 Pauillac
Tel: +33(0)5 56 59 24 24

It was incredible to be a guest for this dinner, but the positive press is made up of my own opinions.

All photos are the property of The Weekend In Paris. Must obtain permission before use.

 

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9 comments

pmaghamfar April 9, 2015 - 2:05 am

Wow! Your photos were a feast for the eyes! Thanks so much for stopping by over at One Road at a Time!

Reply
donoghuemc March 22, 2015 - 1:50 pm

Everything looks and sounds amazing and delicious, but what an opportunity to be allowed back in the kitchen to watch them work! Sounds like a fabulous experience!!

Reply
Weekend In Paris April 5, 2015 - 7:42 am

HI Megan Claire,

Chef Jean-Luc is one of the most affable chefs I have ever met. He is the real deal – a man who loves to cook and share his passion with the rest of us. Humble too!

Cheers,
Priscilla

Reply
Matthew Hirtes March 20, 2015 - 3:36 pm

What a fantastic setting. I’d love to go. But should I be optimistic about the vegetarian options?

Reply
Weekend In Paris April 5, 2015 - 7:43 am

Dear Matthew,

Of course there are plenty of vegetarian options since the restaurant is in the heart of farm land – yes mostly grapes, but fresh produce as well. He is a very accommodating chef as well so let them know in advance and they will have loads of options for you.

Cheers,
Priscilla

Reply
Leigh McAdam (@hikebiketravel) March 18, 2015 - 2:31 pm

Dish after dish of what looked like art more than food. Your descriptions are mouthwatering. I’d love to follow in your footsteps.

Reply
Weekend In Paris April 5, 2015 - 7:44 am

Dear Leigh,

I have to pinch myself sometimes! It’s an amazing thing to be doing what I love and get to meet others who are doing the same. The easy part is the eating, the hard part is putting into words my experience and of course getting the photos right.

Cheers,
Priscilla

Reply
sara March 18, 2015 - 9:54 am

Wow! The culinary experience with chef Jean-Luc Rocha looks amazing and I’m sure those ingredients are so delicious. Would love to be there to taste them!

Reply
Weekend In Paris March 18, 2015 - 1:25 pm

Dear Sara,

Thank you so much for the positive feedback and for taking the time to read my post. I hope you visit Jean-Luc one day to experience this for yourself.

Cheers,
Priscilla

Reply

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