Franck Eté - Our Preferred Private Chef
Cooking at Château de Courtomer
The rolling farmland that surrounds Château de Courtomer is famous for producing outstanding food. A drive down any country lane will take you by local farms and producers who sell directly from the farm, and who are pleased to share their passion with passing clients. Many farms in the Orne are now organic so visitors are spoiled for choice for locally produced fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and dairy products including famous cheeses and other dairy delicacies. Camembert, Livarot, Pont-Lévêque must top the list but in addition there are a wide variety of local farms producing goat and sheep cheeses and of course the creme fraîche from Isigny sur Mer. The Normandy coast (just an hour from the Chateau de Courtomer) offers seafood to die for...in particular the mussels, oysters and scallops which, when in season, will be on sale at any of the local markets.
Speaking about the rich gastronomic offer of the region, Franck explains “the dishes most popular in the area use locally reared chicken, duck, lamb and beef. I like to prepare local organic chicken in a rich creamy sauce which incorporates a dash or two of Percheron Cider or Pommeau (a light apple liqueur, not as strong as Calvados). The apple flavor works perfectly with the cream and somehow brings out the best of the chicken. Another dish that is very popular at Chateau de Courtomer is plump duck breasts served with a rich red fruit reduction which I infuse with my own selection of home-grown herbs from the chateau's vegetable garden or “potager”. My spin on black pudding (Boudin Noir), the local speciality from Mortagne au Perche, is to serve it with caramelised apples to make a perfect starter. My Tarte Tatin speaks for itself, but the texture and flavor of the Normandy apples add an extra something special.”
Franck has lived in Normandy, in the heart of the Perche for the last 12 years and really appreciates the gastronomic richness of the area which is improving year on year. Franck previously ran a restaurant in London and when not working with us at the Chateau coaches chefs on how they can perfect their skills.