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Summer Lunch in Provence a Menu for Friends

I  am deeply moved by Jean-Andre Charial’s philosophical book “Lunch in Provence.” More correctly, it strengthened my conviction that the foundation of great food lies not only in the provenance of ingredients and simplicity of preparation but in emotion and passion while enjoying it.

blankCharial spoke of lovely, outdoor makeshift lunches where just-picked vegetables and fruits from his own farm, fish caught that morning, and local pastured meats were served to a gathering of friends. Shared meals are so much more than simply food; they become life experiences that are celebrated through laughter, friendship, and communion with the natural world. They provide meaning and context to our busy lives and enrich our souls.

Charial advises, “the meal need not be grand, but the experience surely can be.” As I read those words, I closed my eyes and could begin to smell the nearby lavender in bloom. I listened carefully to the cicadas singing softly in the distance as I lifted a spoonful of soupe de poissons to my lips. The briny aromas of the sea carried me to the Mediterranean and made me think, it is time to visit Provence again, even if only in a meal.

A Summer Lunch Menu for Friends:

Summer Lunch Provence Menu 2019

Soupe de Poissons (click for recipe)

This soup requires a bit of preparation, but the end result offers the tastes of the Mediterranean in a bowl. “It won’t matter if the sun doesn’t come out when you serve this soup, because it is hotter than the sunshine of the Midi.” ~ Roger Verge

Marseille Fish Soup Poissons

Provencal Duck Stew (click for recipe)

Make this main course in advance and reheat so you can enjoy the time with your guests. The long marinating time allows the flavours to infuse the duck.

Provencal Duck Stew Winter Fruits

Chocolate Mousse with Cocoa Nib Brittle (click for recipe)

Lastly, I offer a slightly simplified version of Charial’s chocolate mousse that does not lose any of its deliciousness in the translation. Almost no other dessert could be more French than this mousse. Simple to prepare, the cocoa brittle adds a decorative and of course tasty finish.


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Chef François de Mélogue

Chef François de Mélogue

François de Mélogue grew up in a very French household in Chicago. His earliest attempts at cookery began with the filleting of his sister’s goldfish at age two and a braised rabbit dish made with his pet rabbits by age seven. He eventually stopped cooking his pets and went to the highly esteemed New England Culinary Institute, where he graduated top of his class in 1985.

Chef François has over 30 years of cross-cultural culinary experience and brings an impressive culinary history and a unique Mediterranean cooking style. After graduating top of his class from the notable New England Culinary Institute, Chef François began his career in a number of highly acclaimed kitchens across the country, including Chef Louis Szathmary’s restaurant The Bakery in Chicago, Old Drovers Inn, a Relais and Chateaux property in New York and Joel Robuchon Gastronomie restaurant in Paris, before opening award-winning restaurant Pili Pili in his hometown of Chicago, rated in the Top Ten new restaurants in the World by Food and Wine magazine in 2003.

Chef François resides in St Albans, Vermont with his wife Lisa and ten-year-old son Beaumont, who has proclaimed himself the family saucier. Chef François' latest publication French Cooking for Beginners: 75+ Classic Recipes to Cook Like a Parisian takes you on a culinary journey well beyond the streets of Paris. Francois is a professional photographer specializing in food/product photography, real estate photography and shooting rural landscapes of Vermont and France. Explore his work on

Take a look at his website Simple French Cooking filled with delicious recipes and beautiful photos. Also follow Francois on Medium for more tempting dishes Pistou and Pastis.

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