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The Spoon Story and a Bastille Day Celebration

By Becky Billingsley

Thursday, July 16, 2009, Little River – Chef/Proprietor Eric Masson at The Brentwood hired a new chef, Danny Smith. Danny has a great story about an enormous wooden spoon.
For the past six years Danny worked with a French chef in Syracuse, New York. And for six years he was smacked with a wooden spoon when the chef thought some correction was in order.
“It was all in good fun,” Danny said Tuesday at the restaurant. “I got 38 licks on my birthday, and sometimes he’d smack me in fun.”brentwood-danny-smith-spoon
Kimberlee Masson says such behavior is normal for French chefs, and Eric, who grew up in Brittany in Northern France, agrees.
“When Eric came to the U.S. he asked me, ‘Can I kick the employees? Can I hit them?’”
The chef was joking when he asked, but he says such treatment is normal in a French commercial kitchen.
“In France, the kitchen is stricter than the military,” Chef Eric says.
When Danny left that Syracuse kitchen, he took the long-handled spoon with him as a memento. It’s also handy for putting a little fear into rookies by just waving it around.
But this weekend there is no fear at The Brentwood Restaurant and Wine Bistro; there’s only celebration. July 15 was Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution.
The French declared Bastille Day a national holiday in 1880, and they celebrate their Republic with food, dancing and fireworks on the eve of the 14th. The next day is the big parade down the Champs Elysées.
Chef Eric says French fire departments are headquarters for village Bastille Day celebrations.
“It’s interesting because in old cities and small villages, they open up the fire departments and have fairs,” he says. “They have games of luck like throwing balls at cans and concerts. Lots of people go out, it’s a very safe environment. The fire department has a court in the center, a recreation court. It’s a little like a castle. The fire departments stay open all night and people party…It’s not really a day where people go to restaurants. People will eat light and drink heavy.”
brentwod-gardenHowever, this weekend guests at The Brentwood will have the opportunity to eat heartily and enjoy dishes from a special Chateaubriand menu commemorating Bastille Day.
The Chateaubriand can be prepared tableside for two to 12 people, and the four-course fixed-price menu is $39 per person, excluding tax and tip, or $54 per person if the chef’s wine selections are included.
The special Bastille Day Chateaubriand Menu is:
Amuse Bouche:
Cold Chef’s Garden Vegetable Gazpacho Soup
Clams Bouillabaisse - Littleneck clams steamed in white wine, shaved fennel, roasted garlic and simmered in saffron nage
Chef’s Wine selection: Côtes du Rhone Rosé, Parallèle 45, France
Chateaubriand - Whole beef tenderloin seared, roasted, sliced and served on a platter with Pommes Duchesse, Tomato Provencal, Sautéed Haricots Verts, Sauce Bordelaise and Sauce Béarnaise
Chef’s Wine selection: Côtes du Rhone Rouge, Parallèle 45, France
Moelleux au Chocolat - Warm Chocolate Cake served with Fresh Berries and Raspberry Sorbet
Chef’s Wine Selection: Marquis de la Tour, Brut Sparkling, France
This special menu is not valid with any other offers, discounts, coupons or gift certificates.
The Brentwood ( is at 4269 Luck Ave., 1 block west of U.S. 17, in Little River. The number is (843) 249-2601.

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