Friday, December 16, 2005

Restaurateur shares culinary secrets

Express Staff Writer

Alain Gilot happily displays the sauces he is creating for sale. Express photo by Dana DuGan

Need some help with your holiday cooking? Jamais crainte! Help is at hand in the guise of a Gaul.

One of the Wood River Valley's favorite Frenchmen, chef and bon vivant Alain Gilot is like a bird on a mission. He's always in motion, always talking, laughing, charming and inventing. His latest invention is not the best Foie Gras you've ever had but a real delicacy: perfectly created sauce.

A native of Dijon, Gilot moved to the States in 1977 and worked in Pasadena, Calif., at the Chronicle Bar & Grill, co-owned by Lud Renick, a Sun Valley resident (and City Council member). In 1993, Gilot moved north to Sun Valley. His first gig was chef at Mango in Ketchum. After its closure he worked as a private chef and caterer in the valley. He has settled in well, though he retains a thick Gaul accent. His style and flair in the kitchen draw many gourmands to his tables.

For the past three years he has been the owner chef of Bistro 44 in Ketchum, where French flavored fare and excellent seafood are popular staples in his evolving menu. Despite his success there, a few years ago he began working on another scheme.

"It was in between seasons. I was not making an income, so I was making my sauce line in my home. I saw the potential."

Since then Gilot and his girlfriend and partner Lee McComas have created the Alain Gilot Bistro 44 sauce line for retail sale. The sauces are manufactured from Gilot's recipes in France and exported by Markexport. They come in handy reusable two-pound tubs. There are six flavors: Red Bell Pepper, Lobster, Mushroom, Chicken, Lamb and Duck à l'orange.

Gilot said they will be carried by Atkinsons' in Hailey and Ketchum.

"These are the sauces I use to cook," he said. "There is morel and porcini in the mushroom. It is the best. I put a spoonful of the lobster sauce in my Boulaibase. The red bell, chicken and mushroom are great for pasta, fish, beef and poultry. You can play with these sauces."

In late October, the travel loving Gilot was in Mexico for the annual Puerto Vallarta Festival Gourmet, where he presented his sauce.

"It was wonderful, very nice," he said about the response from the many other international chefs there. "I was happy and it gave me a good feeling."

A few weeks later he did a demonstration and tasting at Rancho Mirage, Calif., to excellent reviews.

For a town whose home grown gourmet items have consisted mostly of great mustard, cookies, beer and chocolate truffles, Bistro 44 sauces can only be a boon to our own kitchen fare. Bon appetite.

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