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During the middle of October I was fortunate enough to attend a literary lunch held at Raymond Blanc's Cheltenham Brasserie, le petit Blanc. The guest speakers were Sophie Grigson, Rick Stein and Michel Roux with Raymond Blanc as the host.

Held as one of the events during the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, it was an opportunity for each of the speakers to tell us a little bit about themselves and their books before making themselves available for book signing.

As part of each speakers presentation they were asked to name the dish they most enjoyed creating. Why do I mention this? Perhaps because I found the 'faux-pas' made by Sophie Grigson, as the first speaker, both entertaining and memorable. I hope she will forgive me for mentioning it and that she has seen the funny side of it since.

What was the great 'faux-pas'? With one of the world's greatest Chefs and pâtissiers sitting, waiting to speak next, she pronounced that she was an expert at cooking 'Tarte Tatin' and that all the chefs who used puff pastry had got it wrong!

As Michel Roux rose to his feet he congratulated her on her speech and as an aside mentioned that he was one of those poor chefs who used puff pastry! The whole episode made for a highly entertaining lunch.

The climax for me came slightly later when having bought a copy of Michel Roux's latest book, "Life is a Menu", I was able to approach him for his signature. Having reached an age where I am not so afraid of getting embarrassed I had the effrontery to ask could I reproduce one of the recipes from his book on the Hub-UK website. He agreed, which is why I have related the above story and reproduced in the Recipes section his recipe for Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin.

Reading the book has been a great experience, tinged with regret for me. It has been a great experience because unlike a lot of autobiographies it is interesting, informative and entertaining and, whilst it tells you a lot about the life of the man and the chef, it leaves you wanting more - a great appetiser. If I had not already got the book it would certainly be a must on my Christmas list.

And why tinged with regret? Because there are some things in life you should have done but the opportunity has been missed. For a good many years I lived only a few miles from Bray, where the Waterside is, and always promised myself that I would dine there both for the experience and to be able to say I had eaten food created by the Roux brothers. I never got there and now time is running against me and I live in the wrong part of the country. What did I miss?

"Life is a Menu" by Michel RouxI got a glimpse of that last night too! I have only had permission to print one recipe so if you want to cook the recipe from the book for Beef Stroganoff, which I did last night, you will have to buy it. My own recipe for this dish has been on the website for a long time now but after following Monsieur Roux's recipe . . . my wife thought it was sublime and said she had never tasted anything quite so good.

I have worked in the kitchens of Raymond Blanc in Cheltenham - what an experience it would be to spend a day in the kitchens of one of the world's greatest Chefs, Michel Roux.

Ah well, we can all dream!

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