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The Sauce's Apprentice.

CONSIDER A CONDUCTOR POISED BEFORE A SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. Baton raised, he silently calls each instrument into the soundscape--woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings. With each gesture he measures and moderates tempo, intensity, and expression, building layers of texture and creating a mood--a fantasia.

So, too, the saucier takes his position at the helm of a different ensemble. He directs his percussion section, two aligned rows of handcrafted, hammered copper pots lined with stainless steel and fitted with cast iron handles, meticulously polished, tuned, and born to play a part in the final opus. Flared saute pans, small and large saucepans, and heavy duty braziers on their respective burners await their moment to simmer, reduce, and concentrate. Whether their final performance communicates with the soul rests in the hands of chef Yannick Cam.

Lucky subscribers might remember Cam from Art Culinaire Issue 6. Or, perhaps you know him from his recent Washington D.C. homage to Southern French cooking, Le Paradou, or from his 12-year spell leading the kitchen at the capital city's Le Pavillon where he started in 1978, elevating it to top-tier in the mid-Atlantic region. "I always wanted things to be just right. Everybody in the kitchen at Le Pavillon and Le Paradou was concerned with doing things perfectly. It was part of who we were. We didn't accept just okay or good. We wanted excellence. It's how we approached cooking." Cam, now age 70, spends each day on the line cooking at his Maryland restaurant, Bistro Provence.

During his years as a saucier at Royale Hotel in Deauville, a seaside resort on the Cote Fleurie of France's Normandy region, and at three-star Michelin restaurant Lasserre in Paris, Cam compiled insights. "If a component or ingredients overcook, get introduced too early, or reduce too long until muddy, the entire flavor dies. It's work to be more precise. It takes patience and precision, but also reflection."

Merriam-Webster states, "Used as a transitive verb, 'to sauce' provides for and makes [something] more interesting and exciting." And yet, rather than showboat, the most brilliant sauces play a supportive, harmonizing role. Cam pinpoints the definition. "A sauce is simple," he says. "It needs to be pure, precise, and clear, like a [subtle] perfume. It should never do too much to anything." Such is the basic character of fragrance. A perfumer, the expert who creates perfume compositions, knows that an accord balances a blend of three or four notes to create a completely new, unified impression. The individual notes lose their identities to create a simple, unified expression, a higher purpose.

Cam developed a sensibility to how disparate ingredients combine to make a whole. "Each component, stock, wine reduction, and fumet, must achieve its own pinnacle of flavor. Sauces are actually so easy to make with one condition: you must respect the fumet. You need clean color and flavor. If you really want an unbelievable fumet, it needs to be assembled separately, at the last second."

A saucier must also possess a sensitivity to ingredients in order to anticipate subtleties that demand nimble twists to approach. For instance, Cam says, "A hare in September is different than a hare in December. It's had no berries to eat in winter and that translates to a different flavor. The meat will be more lean, harsh, and dry. So you need to create a more velvety sauce to re-enhance what the meat has lost."

So much also depends on vision, the long line from start to finish. Cam knows that a proper fumet hinges on exact proportions of beef, veal, or chicken to be sauteed in the final 20 minutes before plating. He knows how to harness the power of herbs two hours before plating or a la minute. "All of these distinctions fall within the command of an expert saucier."

Beyond Cam's fundamental quest to hone a sauce's character, he views sauce-making as an opportunity for self-transformation. "You have to be able to question yourself, to search, to be willing to say, 'I can go further.' The mind is lazy. If you don't challenge it, your mind will take the easy way. When sauciers grasp this kind of sensitivity, it's very exciting. They will want to go further. We all start at mediocre, but the only way to grow is to say, 'I want to do better.'"

Cam steers each sauce by clearly envisioning the final dish. By understanding the volatility of individual ingredients, their construction in unique combinations, and the chemistry between individual components, one understands the essence of sauce creation. Says Cam, "To be an alchemist, you need to take a higher road to achieve greatness. A perfectly done sauce creates something unusual, something sublime."

Humility, paradoxically, seems to be a key motivator of Cam's grand pursuits. "I want to get there--to 100%--even though 100% will never happen. You always look toward infinity. You never arrive. But you get to a level that not many people reach."

The saucier directs the percussion section, aligned rows of handcrafted, hammered copper pots lined with stainless steel and fitted with cast iron handles meticulously polished, tuned, and born to play a part in the final opus. Flared saute pans, small and large saucepans, and heavy duty braziers on their respective burners await their moment to simmer, reduce, and concentrate.

Whether their final performance communicates with the soul rests in the hands of Yannick Can.


"Since our first days of opening, I wanted to promote Burgundy. But in 1978," Yannick Cam explains, "it was much easier to acquire wines that were affordable. Burgundy has become so expensive. Add to that the excise tax on alcohol in our county and they become very hard to sell." Cam speaks wistfully of the days when he first opened Bistro Provence in Bethesda. "We now have a list of 250 wines with our favorites shifting to Sancerre and Rieslings from Alsace, both unbelievable matches for our food." With just six miles separating the Nation's Capital from Cam's bistro, he attracts a clientele with a taste for American wines. "We also open many bottles of Bordeaux," he adds. "And, many regulars with deep cellars carry in older wines to open. Provence wines surge in the summer as we open our outdoor seating area and serve rose well into the evening." Cam offers eight wines by the glass and captains often advises guests on cocktails mixed at the service bar.

Story by Steve Legato and Carol M Newman | Photos by Steve Legato

Yannick Cam, Bistro Provence, Bethesda, MD

For the purses:

5 eggs
1/2 quart half & half
5 ounces durum flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil, as needed
For the shrimp mousseline:
8 ounces shrimp, peeled and
   deveined, chilled
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the purse filling:

3 lagoustine tails hailed in shell,
   meat removed, finely chopped
1 tablespoon. mascarpone
1 shallot, peeled and finely clopped
1 teaspobn shrimp mousseline
   from above

For the carrot-ginger emulsion:

1/2 quart fresh carrot juice
4 slices fresh ginger
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons creme fraiche

For the garnish:

Pansy flowers
Seasonal microgreens

FOR THE PURSES: In a bowl, combine all
Ingredients, whisking well until a smooth
batter forms. Place a 10-inch nonstick
pan over medium heat and add a small
amount of oil to coat the bottom of pan
and heat 1 minute. Pour in about 1/4 cup
of purse batter. Immediately pick up the
pan and swirl, coaxing batter into a thin
and even layer. Cook until edges just start
to turn brown, then flip. Gook another
30 seconds before transferring to a wire
rack to cool. Continue making purses with

processor fitted with blade, combine
shrimp, egg, and salt. Pulse a few times,
then stream in heavy cream, pulsing until

To 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine all
ingredients. Wrap.20 grams of lobster
mixture into-1 purse. Lift top and bottom
edges and bring together, pressing from
top to about halfway down to seal. Bring
together right and left edges and 'twist to
seal. Prepare a piece of aluminum foil by
brushing with butter. Place 3 purses in
each piece of foil and fold like papillote.
Bake in oven 8 minutes, or until filling
cooks through.

saucepot, add carrot juice and ginger and
reduce 80%. Remove ginger slices, then
whisk in butter, and add creme fraiche.
In a Vita-Prep, blend 10 seconds at high
speed-until emulsified.

TO SERVE: Place 3 purses on plate. Drizzle
with carrot-ginger emulsion Garnish with a
pansy flower and microgreens.

Yannick Cam,
Bistro Provence


For the scallops:

10 large scallops, muscles
2 teaspoons canola oil
Salt for seasoning
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 leek, white part only, rinsed
   well and trimmed
Heavy cream, as needed

For the zucchini papeton:

1 zucchini, trimmed and
julienne on mandoline
Salt, as needed
2 eggs
5 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon Parmesan
1 tablespoon rice flour

For the corn veloute:

3 tablespoons white corn
Clarified butter as needed
Water, as needed
1/2 yellow onion peeled and
   finely chopped
3 leeks, white part only, rinsed
   well and trimmed
1 quart chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the milk foam:

1 1/2 quarts light cream
Pinch of salt

For the dish:

Rice flour
Creme fraiche
Ossetra caviar
Cayenne pepper

FOR THE SCALLOPS: Pat jcallops dry and season
with salt. In a saute pan over medium heat, add
scallops and sear to release liquid and set aside.
Add shallots and leeks to pan and saute until soft
and fragrant. Add cream and simmer a few minutes
Return scallops back to pan, simmering 1 minute.
Pass through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.

FOR THE ZUCCHINI PAPETON: In a colander, add
zucchini and liberally sprinkle with salt. Let rest 20
minutes. Press with a towel to release excess liquid.
In a bowl, add eggs, cream, and Parmesan cheese
and blend well. In another bowl, mix zucchini with
rice flour. Combine two mixtures, blending well.

FOR THE CORN VELOUTE: In a saute pan over
medium heat, add corn and slowly cook in clarified
butter with a splash of water. When corn fully cooks
and becomes soft, set aside. Add onions and leek,
sauteing slowly until very soft. Add chicken stock
and heavy cream, cooking for several minutes.
Transfer to a blender and puree, then pass through
a fine mesh sieve.

FOR THE MILK FOAM: In a saucepot, bring light
cream to a boil. Add salt. Whip until soft and foamy.
Rewhip as needed for service.

FOR THE DISH: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare a 4-ounce ramekin by spraying it with
Vegetaline and coating lightly with rice flour. In
a bowl, mix 1/4 cup papeton mixture with 1/4 cup
scallop confit and fill a 2 3/4 ring or small
ramekin to top. Bake 8 to 9 minutes, or until firm
and set. Unmold onto a plate. Cover with creme
fraiche. Garnish with ossetra caviar. Add dollops of
corn veloute, milk foam and a quenelle of creme
fraiche. Dust plate with cayenne pepper.

Yannick Cam,
Bistro Provence


For the lobster:

11 1/3 pound lobster, cracked, brain
   sac, sand sac, tomalley, and roe
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning

For the Tahitian vanilla bean sauce:
375 milliliters Sauternes
1 Nielsen-Massey Tahitian vanilla
   bean, cut lengthwise in half
12 zested strips blood orange
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
   and julienned
1 tablespoon blood orange juice
2-3 tablespoons butter, chilled

For the dish:

Clarified butter, as needed
Begonia flower

FOR THE LOBSTER: Preheat oven to 400
degrees. Cut lobster down middle to
expose meat. Crack claws. In a large,
heavy-bottomed pan, heat oil until
almost smoking. Add lobster, cut-side
down, and cook until meat browns,
about 3 minutes. Transfer to oven and
roast about 4 minutes until meat cooks
through. Transfer to a platter, remove
shells, season with salt and pepper, and
keep warm.

SAUCE: In a pot, add Sauternes, vanilla
bean, blood orange zest, and ginger.
Reduce by one-quarter. Strain through
a fine-mesh sieve, reserving vanilla
bean and zest. Transfer to a saute
pan and mount reduction with butter,
moving pan to emulsify. Whisk in blood
orange juice.

FOR THE DISH: In a saute pan, add
clarified butter and lobster slices,
heating until just warmed. Transfer
to a plate and spoon generously with
Tahitian vanilla bean sauce. Garnish
with a begonia flowers, reserved vanilla
bean, and blood orange zest.

Yannick Cam,
Bistro Provence


For the wild turbot:

4 six-ounces pieces wild
   turbot fillets, skin on
Salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil, for frying

For the thyme sauce:

5 ounces Muscadet
5 ounces dry vermouth
1 shallot, peeled and finely
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
   leaves, picked
50 grams butter, chilled
1 teaspoon chives, chopped
3 tablespoons creme fraiche

For the scallops:

16 U-10 scallops, cleaned,
   halved, patted dry
Canola oil, as needed

FOR THE WILD TURBOT: Season fillets with salt and pepper. In
a Tefal or other nonstick pan over medium-high, heat canola
oil 1 minute. Place turbot fillets skin-side down and saute 2
minutes until lightly browned. Using a spatula, carefully flip,
then saute an additional 2 minutes. Keep warm.

FOR THE THYME SAUCE: In a saucepot, reduce wine,
vermouth and shallots to almost dry. Add cream, bring to
a boil, then add thyme. Bring back to a boil. Remove from
heat and transfer to a Vita-Prep, blending well. Strain
through a fine-mesh sieve. Return to saucepot, mount with
butter, and rotate pan steadily, allowing butter to slowly
emulsify. Sprinkle in fresh chives. Finish with creme fraiche.

FOR THE SCALLOPS: In a Tefal or other non-stick pan, add
a little canola oil just to coat and sear scallops 2 minutes,
making sure not to overcrowd pan. Flip scallops and finish
cooking for another 1 1/2 minutes. Keep warm.

TO SERVE: On a plate, add turbot fillet and scallops. Spoon
with thyme sauce.

Yannick Cam, Bistro Provence


Yannick Cam,
Bistro Provence

For the boudin:

Natural hog casings
1 pigeon breast, deboned,
   skinned and chopped
1 organic chicken breast,
   deboned, skin removed,
5 ice cubes
Pinch of salt
1 quart heavy cream
10 juniper berries, crushed
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves
1 tablespoon white truffle oil
Cayenne pepper to taste

For the sweet and sour cabbage:

3-4 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 head red cabbage, cored and
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 green apple, cored, peeled and
2 bacon slices
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4-inch piece fresh ginger,
   peeled and sliced
1 small coriander bouquet garni
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced
   to a glaze
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon honey

For the sauce:

1 1/2 pounds organic chicken
   wings, cut into small pieces
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
1 slice porcini mushroom
12 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon tomato paste blended
   with water

FOR THE BOUDIN: Rinse outside of casing
and place in a bowl of water for 30 minutes
to soften. In a food processor fitted with
the blade, add chicken and pigeon breasts
with ice cubes. Blend well. Add salt and
pulse, slowly adding half of cream. Transfer
to a mixing bowl and fold in remaining
cream, juniper berries, thyme, and truffle
oil. Season with cayenne pepper. Attach
sausage-stuffing nozzle to food processor.
Gather 1 piece casing over nozzle, bunching
it up until 3-inches remain at the end. Crank
sausage mixture evenly through grinder
into casing. Pinch filled casings at 6-inch
intervals, twisting ends to secure. Repeat
with remaining boudin mixture and casings.
Heat a large pot of water to 150 degrees.
Poach links 45 minutes. Remove from water
and let cool.

saute pan, heat oil. Add cabbage, onions,
and apples, cooking until soft. Add bacon,
garlic, ginger, and bouquet garni, cooking 20
minutes more. Deglaze pan with balsamic
vinegar. Reduce, then add cumin and fennel
seeds. Add honey. Cook 8 minutes, then
discard garlic, bacon and bouquet garni.

FOR THE SAUCE: In a pot over medium-high
heat, saute chicken wings 15-20 minutes.
Add shallots, garlic, and porcini, sauteing
until soft and fragrant. Add cardamom pods
and water to cover, scraping brown bits from
bottom of the pan. In another small pot,
add blended tomato paste with water. Add
to chicken stock. Cover and reduce 1 hour.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving
cardamom pods.

TO SERVE: On a plate, drizzle sauce. Place
1 link on plate. Add a small mound of
cabbage. Add reserved cardamom pods.


For the veal chop:

1 veal chop, trimmed and tied
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the mushroom puree:
1/2 pound trumpet mushrooms,
   cleaned well
1/4 Vidalia onion, peeled and
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 slice prosciutto, finely chopped

For the sweet potato croquettes:

1 large organic sweet potato,
   baked, flesh pureed
60 grams goat cheese
1 tablespoon chervil
2 sprigs fresh marjoram, picked
1 egg, slightly beaten
1-2 tablespoons water
50% fine dry white breadcrumbs
   and 50% potato flakes, for
Oil for deep frying

For the veal demi-glace:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
3 cups red wine
Veal chop pan drippings
2 tablespoons demi-glace
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground
   black pepper to taste

FOR THE VEAL CHOPS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pat chop dry and season with salt and pepper.
In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive
oil and sear first side 2 to 3 minutes, until brown
and crispy. Turn and sear second side another 2-3
minutes. Transfer pan into center of oven. Cook to
an internal temperature of 140 degrees in the center
of the thickest part of the chop, about 10 minutes,.
Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before
serving. Reserve pan drippings.

pan, add onion and caramelize slowly until soft,
stirring often. Add mushrooms and cook until tender
and browned. Add garlic and prosciutto. Cook 4 to 5
minutes, then puree in a Vita-Prep.

fryer to 370 degrees. Mash sweet potato flesh with
goat cheese until smooth. Season with herbs. Roll
into a log. Cut log into small rounds. In a bowl, add
egg and water, mixing well. In another bowl, add
breadcrumb and potato flake mixture. Dip sweet
potato rounds into crumbs, then into beaten egg
mixture, then into crumbs again. Fry in oil until
croquettes turn golden-brown. Drain on paper towels.

FOR THE VEAL DEMI-GLACE: Pour olive oil into a large
saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and add
shallots and garlic. Cook until shallots soften, then
add wine. Lower heat and simmer until reduced to
about 1/2 cup. Add veal chop pan drippings and
demi-glace. Simmer an additional 5-10 minutes, then
strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan.
Return to heat and whisk in butter. Season with salt
and black pepper.

TO SERVE: Spoon mushroom puree on plate. Add
veal chop next to it. Cut a sweet potato croquette
in half and place on plate. Drizzle generously with

Yannick Cam,
Bistro Provence


For the crepes:

120 grams all purpose flour
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
100 grams granulated sugar
30 grams melted butter
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey
   Tahitian pure vanilla extract

For the almond cream filling:

4 1/2 ounces butter, room
4 1/2 ounces sugar
4 1/2 ounces almond flour
1 ounce tigernut flour
2 1/2 eggs
1 3/4 ounces creme fraiche
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the passion fruit syrup:

5 tablespoons passion fruit juice
30 grams sugar
30 grams butter
For the garnish:

Melted butter for dredging
Granulated sugar for coating
Clarified butter, as needed
Powdered sugar

FOR THE CREPES: In a bowl, combine all ingredients, whisking well
until a smooth batter forms. Place a 12-inch nonstick pan over
medium heat and add a small amount of butter to coat the bottom
of the pan. Pour in about 1/3 cup crepe batter. Immediately pick up
the pan and swirl, coaxing batter into a thin and even layer. Cook
until underside turns golden-brown, 2-3 minutes, before flipping and
cooking another 30 seconds. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cook
until all batter is used, coating pan with butter, as needed.

FOR THE ALMOND CREAM FILLING: In a mixer fitted with paddle, add
sugar and butter and mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually
add flours and eggs, mixing until incorporated and scraping sides of
bowl after each addition. Blend in extracts and creme fraiche.

FOR THE PASSION FRUIT SYRUP: In a small pot over high heat, add
passion fruit juice, sugar, and butter. Reduce to syrup consistency.

FOR THE DISH: Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of almond
cream on top of crepe. Fold in half, then fold in half again into a
quarter. Dredge in melted butter and coat with granulated sugar. In a
saute pan, heat clarified butter. Add crepe and cook just until sugar
caramelizes. On a plate, add 1 spoonful passion fruit syrup to prevent
crepe from sticking to plate. Place crepe on top and spoon generously
with more syrup. Sprinkle edges of plate with powder sugar.

Yannick Cam,
Bistro Provence


For the parfait:

6 ounces 75% dark chocolate
10 ounces milk chocolate
6 ounces white chocolate
8 ounces egg yolks
4 ounces sugar
1000 grams heavy cream
12 ounces mascar pone
14 ounces butter, melted
4 ounces Amaretto

For the orange tuiles:

125 grams butter
100 grams orange juice
250 grams sugar
62 grams all-purpose flour, plus
   more as needed

For the blackberry and dried
cherry syrup:

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split and
1 tablespoon blackberry preserves
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon pure almond extract

For the garnish:

Pistachios, roughly chopped
Powdered sugar

FOR THE PARFAIT: Prepare PVC pipe molds by lining
with acetate strips. In a bowl set over a pan of steaming
water, melt chocolates. In a medium bowl place egg
yolks and sugar and whisk together. In another bowl,
whisk cream with mascarpone. Using a spatula,
fold chocolate with yolk and cream mixtures. Fold in
melted butter and Amaretto. Place in molds and freeze
overnight to set.

FOR THE ORANGE TUILE: In a pot over low heat, melt
butter. Add orange juice and stir to incorporate.
Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, combine sugar
and flour together. Combine flour mixture with orange
juice mixture, whisking until a smooth, but thin batter
forms. Chill in refrigerator 2 hours. Heat oven to 350
degrees. Prepare a sheet pan lined with a Silpat. Spoon
a small amount of tuile batter onto Silpat. Spread as
evenly and thinly as possible into desired size. Bake
until tuile turns golden brown all over, 9 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and lay hot tuile on a rolling pin to
firm up, about 1 minute. Release, and cool on a wire
rack. Store in an airtight container.

saucepan, make a simple syrup with water and sugar.
Add Tahitian vanilla bean. Whisk in the blackberry
preserves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and
add dried cherries and almond extract. Cover and cook
1 1/2 hours, or until reaches thin syrup consistency.

TO SERVE: Slide parfait from PVC pipe mold. Transfer
to a plate. Artfully decorate with 2 orange tuiles. Spoon
syrup on plate. Sprinkle with pistachios and powdered
sugar. Serve immediately.
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Author:Legato, Steve; Newman, Carol M.
Publication:Art Culinaire
Date:Mar 22, 2019
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