November 8, 2013

Lunch with Michel Escoffier

By Stacy Hoelting, Culinary Arts January 2013 michel-escoffier

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to have lunch with Michel Escoffier while he was on a quick trip to Boulder, Colorado, following a visit with friends in California. Being the very kind gentleman that he is, Michel Escoffier took time out of his busy schedule so that I could get to know him a little. I thought it might be nice to know who he is outside of the famous name, and therefore, let current and prospective students know who he is as well. I found it interesting to learn that Michel Escoffier is a sports guy. He learned to ski at the age of three and has been skiing ever since, even being a part of the ski team for four years while at a university in Switzerland. I learned that he also enjoys playing golf, watching motor racing (even racing when younger), playing tennis, and also sailing his boat off the coast of southern France where he lives, in Nice.

With a daughter, two sons and grandchildren, none of who live in France, Escoffier travels quite often. He explained to me that if he were to move from France, that he would move to California where the majority of his friends live. However, one of his favorite countries, Italy, is where he lived for seven years before moving back to France.

Upon asking him what his favorite dish to cook is, he replied that “pasta and scrambled eggs are his specialty,” but that he only “cooks in the confidence of friends.” He also explained to me that his grandfather’s favorite dish was a stew that his grandmother made. Michel Escoffier is also somewhat of a comedic man. During our lunch he pointed out to me that the menu had “soup du jour” written on it. He found this funny because “soup” was written in English (he finds the language illogical), and “du jour” in French. He also hates ice and doesn’t understand the reasoning for ice in many beverages in the United States.

All in all, it was an enjoyable lunch and very interesting to spend time with an individual who has such a renowned reputation to his name. It is difficult not to think of the “Escoffier” name when visiting with Michel, but it was amusing to learn of the man behind the name.