Entrée to Black Paris Blog

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole Hosts First Event for U.S. Travelers

On February 23, 2017, the Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole hosted its first event for a group of U.S. travelers to Paris!

As the Académie's Ambassador to the U.S., I was pleased to propose a culinary workshop to Jacqueline Cofield, founder of J Rêve International, for J Rêve's second Paris Global Arts and Culture Exchange Program for educators. This professional development excursion took place from February 19-25, 2017 and Cofield was excited to include culinary arts as part of the activities for attendees.

Isabelle Tulle, the Académie's communications consultant, arranged for the workshop to be held at La Canne à Sucre - an Antillean and Reunion Island restaurant of long standing in Paris' 18th arrondissement.

La Canne à Sucre
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Jacqueline Cofield at La Canne à Sucre
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Chef Stéphane Sorbon, winner of the Académie's 2016 Trophée Entrepreneurs (Entrepreneur Trophy) for traditional Créole cuisine, was the creative force behind the event. When we arrived, he was busily setting up the preparation stations for the afternoon.

Chef Stéphane Sorbon sets up for the atelier
© Entrée to Black Paris

On the menu were the following Caribbean classics:

  • Punch Planteur (Planter's Punch) - cocktail
  • Accras de Morue (Cod fritters) - starter
  • Colombo de Poulet (Colombo Chicken) - main dish
  • Blanc Manger Coco (Coconut pudding) - dessert

Preparation Stations:
Upper left and right - Punch Planteur and Accras de Morue
Lower left and right - Colombo de Poulet and Blanc Manger Coco
Individual photos and collage © Entrée to Black Paris

The eight participants formed four teams of two persons. Each team was responsible for preparing one part of the meal.

To make things even more interesting, each team was asked to evaluate the appearance, presentation of the preparation, and taste of the dishes prepared by the other teams. The team with the highest score won a prize.

Chef Sorbon instructed each team in turn. Because he does not speak English, I served as translator.

We began with the Blanc Manger Coco because it had to cool and set in time for dinner. Team members Autumn Scroggin and Bobby Couch took turns grating, chopping, stirring, and cooking the ingredients for what turned out to be a delectable finish for the meal.

Team Blanc Manger Coco: Autumn Scroggin and Bobby Couch
© Entrée to Black Paris

Upper left and right - Bobby grates nutmeg; Autumn grates lime zest
Lower left and right - Autumn stirs the milk mixture; Bobby cooks the milk mixture
Bobby cooks the milk mixture - © Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole
All other photos and collage - © Entrée to Black Paris

Next, we turned our attention to the Punch Planteur. Chef Sorbon told team members Maria Pascual and Jonathan McBride the order in which to add the spices, fruits, juices, cane liqueur, and rum. They carried out his instructions to the letter!

Chef Sorbon and Team Planteur: Maria C. Pascual and Jonathan McBride
© Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole

Left to right - Preparing spices, chopping fruit, adding juice
© Entrée to Black Paris

Jon then placed the punch in the refrigerator so it would be cool in time for dinner.

The Colombo de Poulet was the most complicated dish to prepare. Team members Louis King and Lancey Alexander gave it their all.

Team Colombo de Poulet: Lancey T. Alexander and Louis King
© Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole

Lots of herbs, spices, and peppers go into a Colombo dish.

Colombo Herbs, Spices, and Peppers
© J Rêve International

Louis and Lancey scored the chicken to allow the marinade to penetrate, then chopped and combined the ingredients for the marinade. Chef Sorbon browned cumin seeds and mustard seeds in the oil that would be used for cooking the chicken, then Louis did the cooking. Both team members chopped the vegetables that went into the pot once the chicken was browned.

Upper left and right - Lancey scores chicken; Louis cuts shallots
Lower left and right - Louis cooks chicken; Lancey chops vegetables
Upper level photos and collage - © Entrée to Black Paris
Lower level photos - © Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole

Once these were added to the pot, we gathered around the team that would prepare the starter.

Team Accras de Morue: Patty L. Frazier and Robin Lyons-Couch
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There was lots of chopping to do to prepare the cod mixture. While the peppers used for the chicken dish were mild, the variety used for the accras was spicy. Chef Sorbon warned team members Patty Frazier and Robin Lyons-Couch not to include seeds when they added the pepper.

Once the vegetables were chopped, Robin mixed them into the fish by hand. She continued mixing as Patty added the flour and baking powder. She then took the preparation into the kitchen, where she deep fried it by the spoonful.

Upper left and right - Monique translates for Chef Sorbon as Patty listens;
Patty chops garlic
Lower left and right - Robin mixes the fish and vegetables; Robin fries the fish mixture
Upper and lower left photos - © Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole
Upper and lower right photos and collage - © Entrée to Black Paris

Chef Sorbon had the members of Team Planteur and Team Colombo work on a surprise mise en bouche (appetizer) called Sucettes de Tomates Cerises - an innovative preparation of cherry tomatoes topped with caramelized sugar and dipped in sesame seeds.

Preparing Sucettes de Tomates Cerises
Left: Louis, Jon, and Maria spear cherry tomatoes
Right: Louis and Lancey dip tomatoes into caramelized sugar
© Entrée to Black Paris

Finally, everything was ready and we prepared to sit down and enjoy the meal.

Preparing the table
Left: Robin and Patty bring the accras to the table
© Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole
Right: Maria and Jon prepare glasses of Punch Planteur
© Entrée to Black Paris

Sucettes de Tomates Cerises
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Punch Planteur
© Entrée to Black Paris

Accras de morue
© Entrée to Black Paris

Chef Sorbon plated and served the chicken dish.

Colombo de Poulet
© Entrée to Black Paris

The blanc manger coco, which had been prepared with and without a pineapple topping, was retrieved from the kitchen at the last possible moment.

Then we ate.

Enjoying the meal
© J Rêve International

Blanc manger coco
© J Rêve International

Patty repeatedly declared that the meal was the best she had eaten during the entire time she'd been in Paris!

The evaluations were quickly tallied at the end of the workshop and we waited to hear who would emerge victorious from the afternoon's activities. The winner was Team Accras de Morue.

The prize was a gift bag of Chef Sorbon's homemade banana marmalade, Colombo spices, bitter almond extract, and vanilla extract. Chef proudly informed us that these products will be available for purchase on line in the near future.

Robin and her prize
© Entrée to Black Paris

The sun was setting as we left the restaurant. Everyone agreed that the afternoon had been magical!

Paris Global Arts and Culture Exchange Culinary Workshop Participants
© J Rêve International


Chef Stéphane Sorbon - private chef, caterer, and gourmet boutique owner
Telephone: 07 69 69 23 25

Chef Stéphane Sorbon
© Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole

La Canne à Sucre
2 Rue Coysevox
75018 Paris
Telephone: 01 42 26 51 28
Tuesdays through Fridays from 12:00 noon - 3:00 PM and from 7:00 PM - midnight
Saturdays from 7:00 PM - 2:00 AM
Sundays from 12:00 noon - 9:00 PM.
Closed Mondays and Saturdays at lunchtime

La Canne à Sucre restaurant (interior)
© Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole

Black Paris Chef Stéphane Sorbon culinary ambassador J Rêve International l'Académie de l'Art Culinaire du Monde Créole