Least favorite ingredient? Mustard.

Favorite? Foie gras. Is that an ingredient? My favorite thing to eat is a simple roast chicken. If it's done right, that's the best.

So what's the deal on all the foie gras protests? I think we've had six. I'm always very nice to them on the phone. First, I always ask is, "Are you a vegetarian?" which is okay. They usually say, "Yes." And then my second question is, "Do you eat eggs?" They say, "Yes." I say, "You should go to an egg farm. The ducks on the foie gras farms in the U.S. are at the Ritz or Four Seasons or Biltmore, whereas the chickens at the egg farms are at a sleazy hotel on Van Buren." There's a great book that a journalist wrote, not having any opinion, called The Foie Gras Wars. It's a great book that got started from Charlie Trotter in Chicago not using foie gras anymore, and another chef in Chicago said he was stupid. And it went to New York and Los Angeles. Basically, it just says it's the easy in to get legislation to start on other things, because a) most people don't know what foie gras is and b) if they do, they've never had it.

Chef Christopher Gross' Parnassienne au Chocolate Chocolate Tower
Courtesy of Christopher's restaurant
Chef Christopher Gross' Parnassienne au Chocolate Chocolate Tower

What's the trick to preparing foie gras? Doing as little as possible to it and not overcooking it. Two many people overcook it. I make a joke if I have a new cook working — and they haven't dealt with it a lot — and tell them it's not a piece of fried bologna. It has to be kind of medium-rare inside. It's also $40 a pound, so you don't want to mess it up.

Famous chef you'd like to cook with? Michel Richard at Citronelle in D.C. He's quite a genius. So many of his techniques or creations are in other people's kitchens, but they don't know where they came from. I've known him for a long time, and [on] one of the first times I went back to L.A., I was sneaking into his restaurant La Citrus one day when he saw me, he grabbed me, and said, "You're having lunch with me today."

He had a glass wall, so you could see into the kitchen, and he got his chef to do a cooking demo on the other side of the wall, showing so many tricks and techniques. One time, I was with him, he said, "This is a great potato to make: 4-1-1. Four parts potato, one part egg white, and one part butter. It's like homemade Pringles." So I was using it. And in the Julia Child cookbook, when we were at her house filming, I said to the producer, "I have to say, I was having lunch with Michel Richard, and he gave me this recipe." Then, after the book came out, we were doing a trip to Italy. And we were waiting for Michel. And the first thing he said was, "I saw the book, and you put my name on there. Nobody puts my name on anything! They just say they did it." He was pretty happy.

What's in the kitchen at home? Olive oil. Pasta. Butter. Chicken stock. Then all you need is something to put with it.

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3 comments
Jbhca51
Jbhca51

I'm trying to get the recipe for the 'homemade potato chip' which Christopher Gross made on tv w/ Julia Child. Thanks for any help!

 
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