Master Class with Chef Jerome Laurent

Sofitel Saigon Plaza - Ingredients

One of my favorite food memories was at a tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe in the Latin Quarter in Paris as a teenager. It wasn’t just that the food was much more refined than what I was used to – it was the whole ambience of being in a foreign country and tasting strange new flavors. While I’ve been able to get back to France a number of times since then, the memory of that meal, one of my first experiences with French cuisine ever, is as comforting to me as a warm blanket on a winter’s day. With the proverb “If Mohammed can’t get to the mountain then the mountain must come to Mohammed” in mind, I jumped at the opportunity when  Oi Vietnam was invited to a mini-master class with Michelin-star Chef Jerome Laurent, owner of the restaurant Cilantro in Arles, France.

Chef Jerome LaurentOn this, his first visit to Vietnam, Chef Jerome brings his take on clean French and Mediterranean flavors to the Saigon Sofitel Plaza this week. With previous visits to the Shangri-La in Abu Dhabi, the Mandarin Oriental in Jakarta and the Swissotel in Moscow, Chef Jerome describes Vietnam as “somewhere in the middle of laid back Phnom Penh and crazy Jakarta. Saigon is just electric. There’s more of everything – traffic, new buildings… It’s a city of the future.”

Chef Jerome’s food philosophy is to let the flavors shine through. “People say my food is almost feminine. I don’t use too much oil or cream. I want to keep it light. People can come in for lunch and then go back to work without feeling heavy.”

pan-fried fois gras with porcini mushrooms and pear marmalade

For our class, Chef Jerome demonstrates, a heavenly combination of the saltiness of the goose liver, the sweetness of the pear, the acidity of the balsamic chicken jus reduction to cut through the fattiness and the soft texture of the buttery porcini marmalade.


The second dish had visual wow factor. Chef Jerome meticulously placed tiny discs of potato over red mullet fillets, replicating the look of scales. Pan-fried and placed over a bed of sautéed arugula, the dish was finished off with a bouillabaisse sauce. This dish was lovely with the red of the grilled peppers and the green of the arugula. But don’t let the colors fool you. “Many of my dishes are ungarnished because they don’t need it. I’m not going to put a piece of tomato on just for color. Every component has to make sense.”

Potato Encrusted Mullet

L’Olivier Restaurant, everyday from 19 to 23 March 2013 with dishes such as “White asparagus Vichyssoise”, “Coco Tarbais beans, scallops in a lemongrass and combava bouillon”, “Red mullet coated with potato scales and a bouillabaisse reduction” ,“Lamb a la Provencal, Thyme roasted braised shoulder of tenderloin, seasonal vegetables and soft potatoes” , “Pigeon in cocoa sauce” and “Peanut-chocolate mille-feuille served with a sweet pepper ice cream”.

Olivier Restaurant - Sofitel Saigon Plaza

Business Lunch menu exclusive at VND 680,000

Special A la Carte and Gourmet Menu at VND 1,420,000

Cooking class starting at 10:30 am on Saturday 23 March at VND 680,000 per person including lunch

Contact: / tel: 08 3824 1555

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Healthy Chickens Means Happy Diners

Chickita is farm-to-table, Asian inspired, flame-grilled chicken Rising incomes and savvy, educated consumers have helped revolutionize the food industry around the world and Vietnam is a good case in point. Fast food, sugary and processed snacks are fun and yes, fast, but cultural awareness of nutrition is on the rise. Healthy eating trends are seeing

Read More »

Discover Portugal

Get ready to explore the fascinating world of Portuguese wine Although Portugal has been producing wine for some thousands of years, it seems that not many people are familiar with its wines. In fact, Portugal produces wine in all its territory, even on the islands. Portugal’s winemakers have been conservative in one respect—keeping faith with

Read More »

Drink in the Holidays

Start a new Christmas tradition with these festive wine that is sure to warm the soul There’s no such thing as “Christmas wines”, however, most people tend to change the type of wines they drink during the festive season, and also tend to spend more for them. The first change is the increase consumption of

Read More »

Country Roads, Take Me Home

There’s nothing better than simple, delicious American comfort food from Grandma’s kitchen Food, like music and smell, can be a time machine. Your mom’s mashed potatoes, your favorite burger joint, or the waffles from the 24-hour café in your hometown; they bring us back to another time and place. The Wagon Wheel (200 Le Thanh

Read More »

Must-Try Mezze

Red drapes and technicolor red and blue orange booths conjure up distant bazaars at this festive spot where crowds pack in for expertly crafted Middle Eastern cuisine Mezze Saigon (5th Floor, 215 Ly Tu Trong, D1, is the latest addition to the moderately shortlist of Middle Eastern restaurant lounges in Saigon, which is remarkable

Read More »

Zen Dining

Explore Japan’s lesser-known national dishes surrounded by ponds and greenery You’re in luck if you’re looking for some peace and quiet in Thao Dien: a short stroll down a very leafy side street off the main road stands Kazama (14B15 Thao Dien, D2;, an unassuming little venue designed to convey quietness and dignity in

Read More »