Left Bank Brasseries's Blog

Ask The Chef

June 21st, 2012 • Posted by Kevin Donnigan • Permalink

Ask The Chef

Welcome to our "Ask The Chef" page! We have many talented chefs within the Left Bank family, including French Master Chefs Roland Passot and Joel Guillon. This is a place for you to ask any culinary questions, or gain some insight from reading questions others have asked. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you!  So please, Ask the Chef! We look forward to it!

24 Responses...

David S. says:
September 21, 2011 at 10:13 PM
Hi Chefs, Locke Duart vs Wild King Salmon? Thank You D Shaver
Master chef joel guillon says:
September 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM
Atlantic salmon is the king of fish. Currently Loch Duart is the closest salmon to what a wild Atlantic salmon is or was, I say was because so few of us have had the opportunity to taste a wild Atlantic salmon (currently there is a pilot program in the Adour river that reintroduces wild French Atlantic salmon in the Adour river, few of the fish are caught and sold to Michelin stared restaurant to help subsidize the program, the restaurant at the Hotel Meurice brand "saumon sauvage de l'Adour" sur son menu) without Loch Duart this taste would almost be forgotten, Loch Duart is being able to reproduce the taste profile by being the only salmon farm in the world with a feed made from fish (no corn, no soybean, no land animal by product, I know what a novelty!) For a salmon the flavor we love is from the oil (note that we say fish oil not fish fat or fish grease!) When Europeans came to the west coast of North America they encountered 5 species of salmons, only one was close to the flavor and quality of the Atlantic salmon "King of Fish" they called it King salmon! Now you have to remember that salmon like wine will have a distinctive taste profile, for wine it's the soil, the orientation of the field giving it morning or afternoon sun exposure, for the Pacific salmon in our case the King salmon it's the river they were born in, where does that river meet the ocean gives you an idea of the temperature of the water, the colder the water fattier is the salmon (more fish oil, more taste). Another criteria: how long is the river the salmon will return to, the longer the river, the more the salmon will eat to be able to go back to spawn, fattier will be the salmon again, with wild salmon the fish will be at it's peak caught in the ocean at the mouth of the river. With Loch Duart the fish is always at it's peak because it is man fed! Loch Duart being certified "Label Rouge" has a fat content conform to the fat content of an Atlantic salmon of the same size in the wild. Wild king salmon is at it's seasonal peak two months in the year, Loch Duart salmon is at it's peak every day of the year, both are excellent salmon if we were talking wine one is a Merlot, the other one a Cabernet!
Laurie K. says:
November 7, 2011 at 10:16 AM
I LOVE your butternut squash soup - it's the best I've ever tasted! I ordered it again this weekend and savored every slurp. I would love to have the recipe. I promise that I will still order it, with my Salad Lyonnaise, in addition to making it at home (my husband and I go for lunch nearly every weekend). Thank you so much, Laurie Knapp (knappgals@sbcglobal.net)
Master chef joel guillon says:
November 10, 2011 at 12:45 PM
Hi Laurie, We are delighted you love our butternut squash soup; it is a perfect complement to a fall meal! Here is our in-house recipe for this favorite. BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
  • 2.5 pounds butternut squash skinless
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 8 ounces cream
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 pound onions
  • ½ pound leeks, coarsely chopped
  • ½ pound celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces honey
  • 4 leaves sage
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crème fraiche, for garnish
  • Chives. Chopped, for garnish
  • 9 pumpkin seeds, toasted, for garnish
  • METHOD FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP: Peel, trim butternut squash, and coarsely chop the onion. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the honey to the onions, celery and Leek and cook until it simmers. Add the squash chunks and sage; season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock and white wine enough to cover the squash by an inch. Bring the soup to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup until the onions and squash are very tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add cream and bring to boil. Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender. Do not fill the blender more than two-thirds full or you risk having the contents explode. Allow the steam to escape by removing the center plug in the lid and covering the hole with a thick towel to protect your hand. Hold the lid securely down and lift the towel slightly to allow the pressurized air to escape as you blend. Strain through a coarse strainer to get smoother soup; season it with salt and white pepper to taste. Bring the finished soup back to a boil. Ladle it into bowls and serve with a whipped crème fraiche quenelle, about 1 teaspoon per bowl. WHEN SERVING: Garnish with roasted pumpkin seed and chopped chive.
Anonymous says:
November 10, 2011 at 3:00 PM
Hello, Which vegetarian (better yet vegan) options do you offer? Thanks!
Master chef joel guillon says:
November 10, 2011 at 3:02 PM
All of the Left Bank restaurants have optional dishes when guests dine at any of our locations. Please feel free to inquire with your server regarding special dietary restrictions. On our current regular menu, one can order the Salade verte (butter lettuce with mustard vinaigrette), the Salade d’epinard (spinach salad with honey garlic vinaigrette and seasonal fruits), or the Salade de betteraves (beet salad, sherry vinaigrette), as well as our 4 to 5 seasonal vegetables dishes. Pasta and risotto dishes are also available for the vegetarian, in addition to 4 to 5 seafood selections if so inclined. Remember that with our seasonal menu changes may come new and exciting options!
Georgette O. says:
November 19, 2011 at 7:23 AM
Hello Chefs, I would like to make your green salad for Thanksgiving . The one with fresh Tarragon, but I have to make it for 22 people. Would you give me the recipe? Oh and Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you, Georgette Osserman November 18,2011
Master chef joel guillon says:
November 21, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Hi Georgette,

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! We hope you enjoy our house recipe for your Thanksgiving table. We have adjusted the amounts for your number of guests requested.

  • Butter Lettuce head (washed and spun dry),1 per guest
  • Tarragon (picked leaves), about 1/2 cup
  • Chives (cut in ½" pieces), about ½ cup
  • Chervil (picked), about ½ cup
  • Shallots (fine dice), about ½ cup
  • Mustard Dressing (see recipe), 3 ½ tbsp per serving
  • Lemon wedge, ¼ per plate


  • Dijon Mustard 1 cups
  • Red Wine Vinegar 1 quart
  • Olive Oil (blend) 3 quarts
  • Water (warm/hot) 3 cups
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
1. In the blender add the mustard, vinegar and pulse.
2. Turn on the blender and add the oil slowly.
3. Add the water and season to taste.
4. Consistency should be fairly thin.

1. Separate the leaves very gently removing the core.
2. Place the outer leaves in a bowl and toss them gently with half of the following: herbs, shallots, dressing and seasoning.
3. Arrange neatly in the bowl.
4. Take the remaining inner leaves and do the same as the last step.
5. Arrange neatly
6. Squeeze a small amount of fresh lemon juice over the top of the salad.

Chef’s Notes:
As there is no egg in the dressing to act as a binder, it is important to have the water fairly warm to hot to aid with emulsifying the dressing.

This dressing is best stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator, and a plastic spoon is best used when serving to avoid any chemical reactions that may cause the dressing to separate.

Anonymous says:
December 24, 2011 at 1:21 PM
Could you share the Fondu recipe? Thanks!
Master chef joel guillon says:
December 29, 2011 at 4:10 PM
Here is the recipe for our incredible cheese fondue! Bon Appétit!
  • Blended Cheese Mix (see recipe) 5 oz.
  • Croutons 8 each
  • Bread (cut in cubes about ¾” each) 8 each
  • Chervil & chive sticks to garnish
  • Blue Cheese 1 lbs.
  • Goat Cheese 2 lbs.
  • Brie Cheese 2 lbs.
  • Cream 1 qt.
  • Cornstarch ½ cup
  • Madiera 12 fl. oz.

1. In a thick bottom pot, bring the cream to a simmer.
2. Make a slurry with the cornstarch and add to the cream.
3. Increase to medium heat and add the cheese slowly and be sure it completely incorporates into the mix.
4. Adjust the viscosity by adding more cheese or cream.
5. Add the Madiera.

1. Place fondue crock on a napkin & arrange crouton, garnish w/herbs and serve with skewers.
Anonymous says:
January 7, 2012 at 11:37 AM
My 89 year old mother *loves* your moules frites--would you be willing to share your recipe? Thanks! --Mary Katieputnam53@gmail.com
Master chef joel guillon says:
January 12, 2012 at 4:23 PM
Hi Mary,

We are glad you and your mother love this recipe as much as we do!

Here is the recipe for Moules, one of our signature dishes.

Bon Appétit!

  • Mussels (Prince Edward Island variety) 1 lbs.
  • Garlic Butter (see recipe) 2 oz. wt.
  • White Wine 8 fl. oz.
  • Shallots (sliced thin) 2 oz.wt.
  • Spinach 1 oz. wt.
  • Country Bread (sliced ¾” thick and grilled) 2 each
  • Butter 20 lbs.
  • Garlic (remove ends, bruises and fine chop) 1½ lbs.
  • Pernod ½ btl.
  • Italian Parsley (picked, washed, spun dry, fine chop) 14 bun.
  • Italian Parsley (picked, washed, pureed in blender with some Pernod)) 4 bun.
  • Salt as needed
  • Pepper (fresh ground) as needed
  1. Place the soften butter in the mixer and whip about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, S&P, Pernod, and mix.
  3. Add the parsley, mix and taste by cooking a sample.
  1. Heat a large sauté pan, add the garlic butter, shallots and then mussels.
  2. Add the white wine and cover and cook about two minutes or until all the shells are open.
  3. Add spinach, cover until spinach is wilted and check seasoning.
  4. Tuck the grilled toast into the mussels in the bowl.
Anonymous says:
April 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM
Is it possible to get your recipe for Steak Tartar? It is fabulous!
Master chef joel guillon says:
April 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Bonjour! We are so pleased to hear how much you love our classic Steak Tartare. It is indeed délicieux!

It is our hope that this recipe allows you bring a little bit of Left Bank's Fun and French flavor into your home. Enjoy!

  • Clean flat iron steak 4 oz
  • Quail egg, yolk only (1 per patty)
  • Worcestershire sauce ½ tablespoon
  • Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon
  • Ketchup ¼ tablespoon
  • Fresh chopped shallots ½ tablespoon
  • Fresh chopped cappers ½ tablespoon
  • Fresh chopped parsley ½ tablespoon
  • Freshly chopped cornichon ½ tablespoon
  • Cognac one drop
  • Anchovy ¼ each
  • A little olive oil and lemon juice to emulsify all ingredients.
  • Black pepper and salt to taste.
  1. Mix all ingredients before adding the meat.
  2. Incorporate meat into ingredient mixture.
  3. Make a tartar patty from the meat mixture.
  4. Display the tartar on a chilled plate.
  5. Top with frisée, quail egg yolk, and warm grilled croutons.
Wallace J. says:
April 26, 2012 at 3:07 PM
This is for Chef Fabrice Marcon. My wife and I travel to San Francisco 2-3 times a year from Fresno. We would stop by Mistral at the Ferry Building Marketplace and buy foods for picnic etc. Before leaving town we would stop by again and purchase 2-3 chickens and other goodies to take home to Fresno. So, we are saddened that Mistral is no more. However, now that we know you are with Left Bank Brasseries's we will spending some of our dinning out dollars with you at your new location. My question is, can you share with me the way to prepare and cook those marvelous roast chickens like was served at Mistral? My wife and I would love to recreate, if possible, the french experience here in Fresno. Believe me , there is nothing like Mistral in this culinary outpost in the central valley of California. Blessings, Wally & Pat Jones(walnpat@comcast.net)
Master chef joel guillon says:
May 25, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Bonjour, Wally and Pat, Chef Fabrice has been so kind as to share his own recipe for preparing a tender and juicy Roast Chicken Provençal. From us to you, in Fresno, California--a bit of French comfort food! Bon appétit, friends! INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 whole roasting chicken (4 to 5 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • 1 tbsp fresh cracked white pepper
  • zest and juice from one lemon
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel (“sea slat”)
METHOD: Serves 6
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Rinse the chicken thoroughly.
  3. Zest the lemon in a bowl, and add the remaining juice from the lemon.
  4. Add the provençal herbs, the chopped garlic, pepper, salt, and olive oil to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Put the chicken on a large plate or in a large bowl. Pour the mixture of olive oil, provençal herbs, and lemon zest over the chicken.
  6. Place the chicken in the roaster of the oven and heat for 45 to 50 minutes.
Laura R. says:
August 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Hello Master Chefs Roland Passot and Joel Guillon, Do you know what your Thanksgiving menu will be for dinner dining? Just thinking ahead. Love your restaurant. From Silicon Valley but living in Tucson now. Can't wait to be there for the holidays. Laura
Master chef joel guillon says:
October 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Bonjour, Laura.

How wonderful that you will be joining us this Thanksgiving, all the way from Tuscon! All Left Banks will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM, in case you'd like to plan accordingly.

Please find below our seasonal prix fixe Thanksgiving Menu of four courses. The menu includes of your traditional favorites, with a bit of French flair, of course.

We look forward to seeing you!

4-Course, Prix Fixe Thanksgiving Menu 41.75 per person (price excludes beverages, tax, and gratuity) all items also available à la carte

Le Potage 7.95 butternut squash soup, crème fraîche, chives, roasted pumpkin seeds


La Salade 8.25 fuyu persimmon, frisée, pomegranate, sherry vinaigrette


Les Entrées

choice of Norbest Natural Roasted Turkey 21.50 Yukon gold mashed potatoes, corn bread stuffing, Brussels sprouts with lardons, candied yams, giblet gravy, orange-cranberry relish


Smoked Honey-Mustard Glaze Natural Rack of Pork 22.50 leek and potato gratin, Brussels sprouts with lardons, apple chutney, pork jus


Autumn Risotto 21.50 exotic mushrooms, squash, brussels sprouts, truffle oil, parmesan cheese

and Le Dessert 6.50 pumpkin pie with whipped cream

Gretchen P. says:
October 18, 2012 at 1:24 PM
Greetings! My husband and I celebrated with dinner at your Santana Row Brasserie last night. Wonderful! We started with moules and champagne, followed that with grilled salmon with butternut squash, brussel sprouts leaves and a lovely beet "sauce;" and the mushroom and cream ravioli entrees accompanied by a sassy Cotes du Rhone. For dessert we had the wonderful pear tart which brings me to my request. I would love to make this tart - it had a crust made from ground almonds - what a wonderful savory complement to the pears! Our server, Chris, who made this a very special dining experience, suggested I write to you. Thank you so much! We love your new fall menu! Gretchen Preville gretchen@preville.net
Master chef joel guillon says:
October 18, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Bonjour, Gretchen! We are gladdened to hear about your lovely experience at Left Bank on Santana Row in San Jose. Our fall menu is indeed exemplary of some of the best things to eat this season!

Below you will find Chef de Cuisine David Bastide’s recipe for La Tarte aux Poires. We hope you enjoy it. Bon appétit!

“La Tarte aux Poires”


• 5 pears, cut in half and cored
• Red wine
• Sugar
• Cinnamon
• allspice

1. Cut in half and core five pears.
2. Cook in red wine with sugar, cinnamon, and allspice until tender. Do not overcook.
3. Remove the pears, letting them chill at room temperature.
4. Once cool, slice the pears and arrange like a fan.
5. Let the residual wine reduce to make a syrup. Drizzle on the tarte as a garnish when plating.

Pâte Sucrée (“Sugar Dough”)

• 3½ lb butter, cubed
• 1½ lb sugar
• 5 eggs
• 1 tbsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp salt
• 4 ½ lb all purpose flour

1. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, until light and fluffy
2. Add in eggs one at a time.
3. Add in vanilla and salt.
4. Scrape the bowl from time to time.
5. Add in flour and mix until incorporated.
6. Chill well.
7. Roll out dough very thin and line 4” tart shells. Dock the base and freeze for at least 30 minutes.


• 1½ cups almond meal
• ½ cup soft butter
• ½ cup + 2 tbsp sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, then almond meal and vanilla extract.
2. Spread the filling in the sugar dough shell. Lay the pears in the filling, submerging them halfway in the filling, allowing the tops to show.
3. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Be careful, as it burns easily.
Anonymous says:
December 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM
What brand of peach liqueur does your bartenders use in a French 75? And might they share the recipe? Thank you, Sara
Maddie C. says:
December 23, 2012 at 3:34 PM
Had the Seine River Cosmo, one of the best cocktails ever! Would love the recipe for an engagement party we are throwing. Many thanks, Maddie Carmel
Master chef joel guillon says:
December 31, 2012 at 1:20 PM
Bonjour, Sara! You have impeccable taste--the French 75 is a popular choice! Below please find the recipe for our signature French 75. You'll find it's very easy to increase the quantities if you'd like to use it for entertaining guests. À votre santé (“to your health! ”) French 75 INGREDIENTS: 1.5 oz gin 0.5 oz Bols peach schnapps 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice 0.5 oz simple syrup Splash sparkling wine METHOD: Pour gin, schnapps, lemon juice, and simple syrup into martini shaker with ice. Shake, and serve up in a chilled martini glass. Top with a splash of sparkling wine.
Master chef joel guillon says:
December 31, 2012 at 1:32 PM
Bonjour, Maddie! Our Seine River Cosmo will indeed make for a lovely cocktail to serve at your occasion. Please find the recipe as follows: Seine River Cosmo INGREDIENTS: 1.5 oz absolut mandarin vodka 0.5 oz triple sec 0.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice 0.5 oz simple syrup Splash cranberry juice Lime-ginger foam and lime zest, for garnish *Lime-ginger foam is made with water, soy lecithin, lime juice and ginger-infused simple syrup METHOD: Pour all ingredients (except for foam and lime zest) into martini shaker with ice. Shake, and serve in a chilled martini glass. Top with foam and lime zest.
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