Monday, September 13, 2004
Jacky Pluton - Chef Owner
Pluton’s Eloquent Chef
One of the most hallowed of tasks for a Chef/Owner of a big city restaurant is to possess a heightened sensibility towards the pairing process of food and wine. Big name wines and expensive luxury ingredients are not enough to the discerning, educated consumer, and Jacky Pluton has understood that perfectly. PLUTON opened its doors to the Chicago Chapter for our September kick off dinner and we discovered a sophisticated urban style inside.
What was announced. Bailli Roger Tracy revealed to the Officers, assembled members and their guests that he would be stepping down as Bailli of the Chicago Chapter after virtually ten years. Vice-Conseiller Culinaire Heinz Kern would be assuming the responsibility for the Bailliage on 1st November.
What we had. In the hands of this masterful chef, the palate was immediately stimulated by a series of hors d’oeuvres and a 55% Pinot Noir Piper-Heidsieck Brut N.V. possessing a fair amount of acidity that worked with everything. Six contemporary dishes followed, each representing Chef Pluton’s French heritage, treated with 21st Century flair. The Tasmanian Salmon with a black sausage garnish harkened back to his childhood memories in Bordeaux where blood sausage was eaten for breakfast and salmon was taken from La Garonne. These anecdotes personalized the experience.
What we drank. Chevalier Jeffrey Berry led us through a series of old and new world wines from New Zealand, Spain, Austria and France with both a white and a red accompanying the cheese course, an 1986 Cune Imperial Gran Reserva the main course, and a 1983 Château Coustet Barsac the dessert.
Who we saw. Leading member chefs and GMs of some of the city’s finest establishments were there – always a salute to the integrity of the establishment. We saw elegance and a calmness that only comes with a Chef who feels “good in his skin” and we saw that there was reluctance for the evening to end which is how we all ended up in the kitchen admiring its design and peppering Jacky Pluton with questions.
What we saw. A vibrant abstraction on the palate and a Chef refusing to swerve from his culinary convictions without diluting or compromising its integrity.
Praising the pacing. In the hands of well chosen staff, there is no comparable testament to the management of a restaurant than the discreet yet well-ordered heartbeat of each course and its service tableside.
One thing is certain. We shall never look at grilled salmon and blood sausage in the same way again.