It started when Claire from the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong told me that top British-French chef Michel Roux, the man who brought fine dining to the UK, would be joining Caprice for a guest stint. “Michel Roux?” I gasped, naturally. “Author of a cookbook on eggs?” I had to meet him, of course. And get my Eggs book signed. Only one problem — I didn’t actually own the book yet, and I knew for a fact that it was impossible to find in Hong Kong, or so I was told by my friends who abused their interns and got them to call 11 different bookstores to locate one for my birthday. Anyway, so the day came for me to meet Chef Roux, and he was everything you’d hope him to be — charming, flirtatiously French and quick with eggscellent quotes like “Eggs are life.” AND ARMED WITH A SIGNED COPY OF HIS BOOK!
His publisher would soon receive a testy phone call. And I believe the Roux book of eggs is now available in many booksellers across Hong Kong (I haven’t checked, obviously, because I have my own now!) Over dinner the next evening, a preview of his Waterside Inn x Caprice crossover dining spectacle, a sadly eggless affair, Chef Roux offered that, upon his return to Hong Kong in November, we would have a breakfast egg date.
And so we did.
We ended up covering four egg recipes that morning, all of which can be found in the Eggs cookbook. The first was an eggs cocotte.
A fairly simple procedure: hot cream and eggs in buttered ramekins topped with cheese, then baked and spruced up with a slice of truffle.
The pictures of the actual scrambling look pretty… scrambled. But the final product was beautiful. Chef Roux doesn’t use the double-boiler method — he just scrambles really fast, and adds his milk and seasoning at the end, after I’d thought his eggs were too piecey and overcooked. They weren’t. Magic!
Then it was omelette time…
Nothing fancy looking, but a perfectly smooth exterior coupled with a melty-good, mushroom-filled interior.
And onto the most beautiful and challenging of the lot — the poached egg. The key to these, so Chef Roux says, are fresh eggs, left at room temperature, and a really healthy serving of vinegar in the water. I must say, I watched him do it, and I’ve been honestly practicing almost every day — my poached eggs look nothing like these. Why, Lord, why? Luckily, there’s no shame in ugly home-poached eggs, if all you’re doing is eating them two minutes later, and they still taste just as good.
To save your poached eggs for later (for example, if you’re poaching 1,200 eggs for a banquet the next day), simply immerse them in ice water. Then reheat for 30-odd seconds again in boiling water. At this point, Caprice’s top dude, Chef Vincent Thierry, showed up and started to help with the reheating. Two three-Michelin-starred chefs cooking me breakfast. It does not get any better than this.
The eggs were popped onto creamy mushroom-stuffed vol-au-vents, topped with Hollandaise and another slice of black truffle.
And so concluded The Michel Roux Eggsperience. Can’t swoon enough, or thank Claire enough for making all of this happen. I’m still salivating just looking at these pictures.
From left: Jon, me, Michel Roux and Claire Blackshaw.
Apologies for the weird photos. My camera was on the wrong setting and I had to desaturate them all to get rid of the weird yellow glow.