My first job out of culinary school was as an apprentice at the acclaimed L’Auberge Chez François, a romantic French restaurant right outside of Washington, DC. If you’re from the area, you’ve likely spent a special occasion there. If not, just imagine an Old World style cottage in the rolling hills of Virginia, dining rooms appointed with cozy fireplaces and traditional Alsatian decor, an old-school French menu featuring the likes of escargots, foie gras and Chateaubriand, and a whole lotta charm. It’s a very special place.
However, I found out pretty quickly that working there wasn’t quite as romantic as dining there. It was a large, European-style brigade kitchen with the chef at the helm and all the cooks “manning” their stations. Not only was I the only woman, at five feet two inches tall, I was also hopelessly undersized for the massive equipment that surrounded us. I had to get lifts on my shoes just to reach the plates over the stove—and don’t even ask about those fifty-pound sacks of potatoes! If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to cook in a restaurant kitchen, just imagine trying to juggle multiple orders in your head, cooking on four different burners with food in the oven at the same time, flames, sharp knives, hot pans and the incessant stream of orders coming in and going out. It was terrifying!
I did eventually get the hang of it, and though I never once forgot what a privilege it was to work there, I have to admit that I’m much happier to be a guest at Chez François now. One of the nicest parts about dining there is all the unexpected treats that show up at your table throughout the meal, like decadent chocolate truffles after dessert, sorbets garnished with candied violets in-between courses, or my personal favorite, the Herbed Cottage Cheese Spread that comes with a basket of toasted garlic bread while you peruse the menu. It’s blend of cottage cheese, sour cream, garlic, scallions and fresh herbs that’s irresistible…the perfect beginning to an always perfect meal.
Note: At the restaurant, this is served as a spread but it’s also delicious on its own as a snack or side, like cottage cheese. For best results, do not use low fat cottage cheese or sour cream.
L'Auberge Chez François Herbed Cottage Cheese Spread
- 1 pound 4% small-curd, cream-style cottage cheese
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon finely minced green onions or chives
- 1 tablespoon finely minced parsley, plus more for garnish
- Combine the cottage cheese and sour cream in a medium bowl and blend well. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly and adjust seasonings. Cover and chill well before serving. Serve with toasted garlic bread or crackers and garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
- Serving size: About 1/3 cup
- Calories: 95
- Fat: 6g
- Saturated fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 3g
- Sugar: 2g
- Fiber: 0g
- Protein: 7g
- Sodium: 368mg
- Cholesterol: 20mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.