Doris Lacoste or “Ris” as her friends call her is owner and chef of her own restaurant in the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington, DC. Ris culinary journey to Paris and back (USA) has been serendipitously entwined with culinary icon, Julia Child.
With a degree in French, Ris set off for Paris to perfect her language. She landed a job as a secretary at La Varenne in exchange for a degree in French cooking. She stayed in Paris for a few years. It was a great job that put her up front and centre with Paris’ top chefs and it was here she first met Julia Child.
They’re paths would cross again and again in Massachusets when Ris returned and again in Nantucket. When Ris moved to Washington, started the DC chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food (AIW&F). It was Julia’s organization and when Ris sat on the national board, she found herself working Julia again. So when it was Julia’s 80th birthday, Ris jumped at the chance to work with her. She prepared Julia’s birthday party on her 80th birthday, 90th birthday and 100th birthday.
It was during her 90th birthday party when Ris recorded a documentary called “Cooking for Julia”. Julia child died 2 years later (2004) but Ris went on to plan a huge 100th birthday celebration. Julia’s family attended and it was at RIS Restorante. “I still have Julia on speed dial” says Ris who fears she may need to buy a new phone soon. “I would call Julia and ask her for her favourite foods and she would say veal, asparagus, oysters and chocolate almond cake. That is exactly what I would make”. Julia’s birthday is August 15 and now at RIS Restaurant August is the month to celebrate Julia Child with her favourite dishes. Last year they did a Battle of the Burgers – Julia’s Burger against Ris’ Burger. This year she’s not sure what she’ll do but for sure it will include some Levitra Online of Julia’s favourite foods.
Ris and I went to the Smithsonian Institute’s National History Museum where Julia’s kitchen is on display. Everything in that kitchen was exactly as it was the day Julia died. Ris remembers being in that kitchen in Massachusetts and she shares some of her more intimate stories. Ris is melancholy at this place she rarely visits.
Julia’s kitchen is at the entrance of the Food in America exhibit. We walk around and took a look at all of the food wisdom of the ages. As much as I loathe processed and fast food, the museum explains how many of the convenience, processed foods were invented to fill a need at the time. While those needs no longer exist today, the processed food industry is stronger today than ever before based on opportunity and greed.
Ris and I are kindred spirits. We both come from large families that loved us with food. We both shop at the farmers market, we insist on knowing the farmers we buy from and we both cook from scratch. We both lament that more people and chefs don’t do the same but then again, it is a real skill to pack all that delicious foraging into a busy day. But for us, it just makes the busy day worth while.
So what is her cooking like and what did I have? Ris has a super light touch and a healthy slant to her cuisine. I will always remember the Scallop Margarita with its light, bright flavours and the Miso Salmon Tartare with its crisp, warm elements on an uber light body. Food that makes you feel so much better for eating it. I would eat here every day if I lived in Washington and who wouldn’t want to eat the food from the amazing chef who cooked for Julia Child. Julia aside, Ris Lacoste is quickly becoming a culinary icon of her own.
Ris, 2275 L Street, NW, Washington, DC, www.risdc.com