Executive Chef Julie Picco, Restaurant Chef Clare Villaseñor, and Pastry Chef Joanne Ponvanit enjoyed unleashing their creativity in two special menus this spring at the Restaurant at the Getty in Los Angeles: one to accompany the exhibition “A Queen’s Treasure from Versailles: Marie-Antoinette’s Japanese Lacquer” and another for Valentine’s Day.
For the special Marie Antoinette fourcourse dinner, Clare researched the French queen’s life and food tastes. Then she and Julie synthesized a modern menu inflected with Japanese flavors, with an optional pairing with Japanese sake and California wines (ones made in the French style). The second course, for example, a salad of baby greens with edamame and lardons, was inspired by the warm “petits pois à la Française” dish of peas, pork belly, shallots, and chopped lettuce that Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI reportedly enjoyed after an attempted escape. And of course there was cake: Joanne fused French and Japanese flavors in a green-tea lava cake with mixed berries sauce, miso ice cream, and a raspberry macaron.
For Valentine’s Day, the menu comprised three decadent courses, available for three days. A lobster bisque with garlic croutons and sherry cream accompanied by crab salad was followed by seared beef fillet with porcini butter, Parmesan whipped potatoes, rainbow chard, and red pearl onions. And Joanne’s dessert course was a true piece of art: red velvet cheesecake tart, cheesecake crémeux, and raspberry sponge cake with mixed berry sauce and red-velvet- cake ice cream.