Pink Buffet!

Pink Buffet!

Yesterday was an exciting, if exhausting, day : I went and helped my friend Keda Black, a fellow cook and writer, with the creation of a buffet for the opening of an art show, at a gallery named La Périphérie. This gallery is a really great place, roomy and bright, setup in a rehabilitated workshop just outside of Paris. The show features illustrations by Carlotta, an illustrator who works for French and Japanese magazines. The theme for the show was Pink, so I’ll give you three guesses as to what the idea for the buffet was!

The menu Keda had thought up was wonderful : pink tartlets of leek and blue cheese, or hazelnut paste and beetroot (a little beetroot juice in the dough works wonders), there were three different kinds of dips (white bean, carrot or beetroot based) with different dippers (fennel, pink chips, or pink radishes), which we served in little glasses and ramequins, there were cute and delicious mini-loaves of herb and cheese bread ; there were mini-madeleines flavored with rose water syrup and frosted mini carrot cakes, there were strawberry jellies and glasses of berry trifle with whipped cream. A little pink in everything, and all of this washed down with champagne of course.

Martine Camillieri, who co-directs the gallery, is also very talented with crafts and decoration. She has a particular flair for turning everyday objects into colorful and witty ornaments, and she took care of the buffet installation itself, using pink and cute things with style. She also thought up a clever setup with glass vases of different shapes, which we filled with goodies and stacked up : as the food was consumed, we removed the empty dishes, uncovering yet more things to eat and allowing people to move from savory to sweet, seamlessly.

Since all of this was homemade, with love and care and attention at that, it turned out to be a lot of work! Keda had been at it for the two previous days, and I joined her to help accomplish the myriad of little tasks that remained.

It was a wonderful spring day and the kitchen at the back of the gallery is a dream to work in : a huge oven, a retro Smeg fridge, ample room and plenty of sunlight from the little courtyard. Keda and I worked in unison, and the general atmosphere of excitement and anticipation was very pleasant. There was always a friendly little crowd around the kitchen, keeping us company, helping or chatting and gobbling up what we couldn’t use for the buffet (“I’ll help adjust the seasoning!” and “Oh look! Isn’t this mini-madeleine a teeny bit overcooked?”).

The evening turned out to be a success with a lot of happy visitors, the buffet was lovely and we got plenty of compliments on the food. I also chatted with very interesting people, whom I hope to meet again soon. Definitely an experience to reproduce!

Update : More pics in this little gallery

  • Josie

    Maybe you should consider going into catering?

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com barrett

    I really like color-themed meals. We had friends over for a blue/purple dinner once that was a lot of fun to make. Blue potatoes were the key ingredient.

  • ROBERT

    I like the idea of rose water-scented madeleines. These sound perfect as a dessert served up with mint tea following a Moroccan dinner.
    May I ask, how much rose water did you add to and what was the yield of your recipe. As I have several recipes of my own I thought I might adapt one, but I’d like to trade on your experience in the matter.

  • http://www.jessi.nl Jessi

    It looks wonderful and delicious… again.

  • http://www.obsessionwithfood.com Derrick Schneider

    How charming! I can well imagine it was a lot of work, and hopefully the attendees appreciated it!

    There is a very nice feeling to working with someone in the kitchen when there’s a lot to do, and a task to get to, as long as it’s not overwhelming. It helps one understand the camaraderie chefs feel for each other. A common purpose, or something like that.

  • Julie

    you probably already know this, but how nice to be featured in the current issue of gourmet magazine! thanks for all the great recipes and food commentary.

  • http://gastroblog.com Jackie

    So pretty! Such catering events are HARD work, but the reward is great when everyone loves it all. Well done, Clotilde!

  • Maryanne

    Pink! I love pink! The most flattering of colors, and your theme for this party shows the same kind of obsession that I develop with themes for parties I do at home and professsionally.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Josie – Maybe not on a regular basis, but I’d certainly love to take care of a few catering jobs here and there.

    Barrett – Blue/purple must have looked great indeed! Green is probably less of a challenge…

    Derrick – I quite agree, it’s a warm feeling – when it goes well! I think the key is to have enough room for everyone to move around without bumping into each other all the time. But that’s a luxury in most kitchens!

    Julie – Yes, I’m very happy about it! :)

    Jackie – Thank you! I’ll try to post more pics later today…

    Maryanne – What kind of themes have you used yourself?

  • Merkin

    There’s a funny bit in JK Huysman’s “A Rebours”, where the main character, a charicature of the decadent aesthete, hosts a dinner party with all black food.
    See “Ostentation” (no offense!): http://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/2/gastronomictwo.php

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Merkin – None taken! :) And you know, it’s funny, because I had a conversation about exactly that on the day of the buffet! Very interesting site, by the way. I’ve never read “A rebours”, do you recommend it?

  • Becky

    Is there a recipe for the Pink Tarlets of Leek and Blue Cheese? Our Dinner Club was inspired by the “Pink” menu and we’re doing an entire dinner. However, I was given the task of this dish as the appetizer and have been unable to find the recipe on this site. Your help would be appreciated! Thanks.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Becky – These are Kéda’s recipes, which is why I haven’t posted them. But basically, add beetroot juice to a regular pie crust recipe, and pre-bake little pie shells. Slowly cook leeks, chopped up very thinly, with a bit of butter. Assemble the tartlets with a drop of hazelnut butter at the bottom, add a little crumbled blue cheese, and a little leek on top.

    It’s great that this inspired your Dinner Club, do let me know how it goes!

  • http://scentofgreenbananas.blogspot.com santos

    miss clotilde

    i am another reader you’ve inspired to do a pink buffet. sadly, mine was not as enchanting, as i lack restraint; let me tell you, there is such a thing as too much pink!

    still, i think we somewhat successfully applied the theme to asian-inspired food. others may have been appalled, but i thought the pink sushi was charming:

    http://photos1.blogger.com/img/212/1030/320/pinksushi.jpg

    anyway, i just wanted to thank you! despite the limited success, it was great fun.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Santos – Thanks a lot for reporting back, I’m delighted this inspired you, and the pink sushi does look abso-lovely!

  • Naomi

    does anyone know where can i find some information about jk huysman`s ” a rebours” or how to buy it.

  • Giulia

    hey , me and my friend would like to have a pink pic nic but the only pink things we found ( to eat ) are pink lemonade and pink jelly beans … can u help us ??? please send me an e-mail : sungirl_giulia@hotmail.com

  • Tricia Baehr

    I am planning a pink party too! Some of my ideas are: shrimp wrapped in proscuitto, hummus with roasted red peppers (now i think I’ll add a little beet juice too), ham rollups with cream cheese, pink cupcakes, strawberries, watermelon & raspberries tossed with raspberry jelly & vinegar, mini salmon cakes, shrimp mousse, raspberry cheesecake

  • http://www.canada.com/ Thomas Adams

    Nice job. I’m planning to come back here in the future. Table will Tournament unconditionally: , Universal Plane Do or not Tremendous Soldier is always Lazy TV , Girl can Roll Chips right Round will Fetch Gnome without any questions

  • Andy

    In George Perec’s novel “Life a user’s manual” (first published in french in 1978, English translation by David Bellos), Madame Moreau hosts colour-themed dinner parties. The first one was yellow – Burgundy chees cake, quenelles of pike in Dutch style, quails stewed in saffron, sweetcorn salad, lemon and guava sorbets, accompanied by sherry, Chareau-Chalon, Chateau-Carbonneux, and cold Sauternes punch. A black meal included caviar, squid tarragon style, saddle of baby Cumberland boar, truffle salad, and blueberry cheesecake. A pionk meal comprised ham au Vertus in aspic, koulibiaca of salmon in aurora sauce, wild duck with vineyard peach, pink champagne etc.

  • Danielle Mitchell

    i think this is a fabulous site.i’m planning on holding a Breast Cancer Awareness party and its a pink theme.i now have a wide range of ideas for the menu so thankyou to everyone!

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