Topaz Restaurant

The Fernand Point Salad, history in the making

His restaurant La Pyramide near Lyon held three Michelin stars for longer (bar the years of the Second World War) than any other has. He virtually created modern restauranting as we know it today, working as closely with customers as suppliers. He trained the first generation of chefs that went on to become “superstars” beyond the sweating walls of grand kitchens. Yet, outside cheffing circles, Fernand Point’s name is rarely dropped with the same abandon as that of Escoffier, Bocuse, or even Carème. Searching through a host of cookbooks and histories of food, his name usually comes up incidentally to the telling of another story than his.

The interesting thing though is that where his name does appear, the author always appears to assume that you’ll know exactly who they’re talking about, much as you would understand their meaning when they happen to mention cheese, or Champagne.

Fernand Point is, indeed, considered the ‘father’ of modern French cuisine, and his book ‘Ma Gastronomie’, published in 1969 and reissued in 2009, is a culinary bible noted for its wit and wisdom as much for its inventive recipes. Point was a true gourmand, chef and a philosopher and he was as generous with his knowledge as with his portions. He was a man of tremendous appetites and an appreciation for luxury, whose breakfast could easily consist of a couple of roast chickens washed down with two bottles of Champagne. Nonetheless, he wasn’t without sympathy for those whose lives were defined by restraint. “Before judging a thin man, one must get some information. Perhaps he was once fat”, he said.

But that lusty appetite accompanied an exacting approach to life and cooking all the way down to the tiniest details, and a generosity and openness of spirit that meant kings and working men were equally welcome in his restaurant. He only worked with local produce, pronouncing himself as essentially easy to please, being contented with the very best. He set out to perfect every minute step of the process that led to a great dish and dining experience. Along the way, he became a master who nonetheless considered himself an eternal student.

The Fernand Point Salad at Topaz is our homage to this great man, and is a sterling reflection of his tastes and expectations. A richly flavoured assembly of tender lobster tail, green beans, quail egg and green leaves topped with a cool slice of sublime foie gras and coated in a lovely, herby dressing makes this salad one of the absolutely unmissable treats on our menu.

Don’t forget to order yours the next time you join us at Topaz. You can book your table now through this link: