France / Paris 1971
THE PARIS CHAPTER
My beloved father passed away and I moved after the season to Germany for a short while to help my mother during this hard time.
Then, came the trip to Cameroon. Sheratons Head Office in Brussels offered me a job as a Sous Chef in Sheraton Mount Febe Palace, Yaounde, Cameroon, Africa. I was ready to go to the tropics, dressed in short sleeves and pants which were made from a thin material. I left my home, Braunschweig, including my winter coat. I had to go by train to Paris where my connection with Cameroon Airlines was booked.
It was somewhere in January and the weather was snowy. About 2.00am, cold and quiet, someone shouted at me to wake up. I wondered what had happened and looked out of the window. The train stood still in the dark, it was pitch black all around. From my side, there was nothing to see but on the other side...huge flames were destroying the last wagons and the power lines above. Fire - Emergency - Out!
Snow with short sleeves, it was bloody cold. I was freezing and two hours later came the old steam locomotive which rescued us and brought us, with a four delay, to Paris.
I caught a taxi to the Orly airport but the airplane had already taken off. The next flight was only on a Friday which is three days later. I then took a taxi to the very well organized Tourist Office in Paris. The questions which they posed to me were very mechanical :
Name - Jochen Kern
What do you want - A room for three nights, please.
Price - I dont know:
300? 200? 100? 80? 60? or 40 French Francs - 40 is fine.
Location or where would you like to stay? Is it okay at the Champ de Elysee, next to the Arch de Triumph.
I moved into my newly purchased room under a roof (or better said as a be with four walls) which was OK enough for this short visit. Visting the Eiffel Tower, Seine River, night clubs and Moulin Rouge in short sleeve shirts which some people guaranteed was tough, I am crazy. But nevertheless, I saw this large exciting city - freezing or not.
The bellboy from this establishment invited me to one of the local pubs after knowing that I was also a hotel worker. We had pasties and girls who were much friendlier compared to the ones in the night clubs who asked for money immediately. Even before the excitement began, these girls were still friendly and there was no need for advance cash payment and harsh treatments, the way it is with the top professional in Paris.
The local Recipe
FILLET DE TRUITE CHAMP DE ELYSSEE
BRUSH SOFT BUTTER INTO SAUTOISE. ADD CHOPPED SHALLOTS, SALT AND PEPPER. PLACE TWO TROUT FILLETS, SHRIMPS, ASPARAGUS TIPS AND FRESH CHAMPIGNON MUSHROOM HEAD INTO SAUTOISE. ADD WHITE WINE AND CREAM. COVER WITH BUTTERED GREASEPROOF PAPE AND POACH GENTLY OVER LOW HEAT. REMOVE TROUT FILLET, SHRIMP, ASPARAGUS AND MUSHROOM AND ARRANGE ON PLATE. THICKEN THE STOCK WITH BEURRE MARNIER TO NICELY ROUND-UP WHITE WINE SAUCE. FOLD WITH WHIP CREAM AND A SPOON OF HOLLANDAISE SAUCE. GLAZE UNDER SALAMANDER TO GOLDEN COLOR, GARNISH WITH RICE TIMBALE, FLEURON AND TRUFFLE SLICE. THE PRIME OF THE CHAMP DE ELYSEE IS READY TO BE EATEN.