Marrying a mixture of vibrant colors and explosions of flavor, newly appointed chef de cuisine Felipe Botero Sanchez provides a sensorial experience at Le Jardinier (lejardinier-houston.com).
This colorful dish delights the senses. PHOTO BY EMILY CHAN
4 pieces skinless Ora King salmon (6 oz.)
2 oz. olive oil
1 each tricolor cauliflower (white, purple, green, yellow and/or Romanesco)
4 oz. cold butter
½ cup whole grain mustard
¼ cup Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. wildflower honey
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. yuzu juice
½ cup grapeseed oil
*In a bowl, combine the Dijon and whole grain mustard, honey, lemon juice and yuzu juice and whisk very well. Slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil while whisking, until completely emulsified. Transfer into a container or squeeze bottle.
*Prepare a large pot with blanching water (boiling water seasoned with salt). With a knife, cut the cauliflower into florets or bite-sized pieces (1 inch). *Season the salmon with salt and black pepper mignonette on both sides.
*Heat up a saute pan to medium high heat. Add the olive oil and gently place the salmon; turn the heat to medium. Cook the salmon for 4 minutes before turning it and cook for another 2 minutes (for medium) or until desired doneness. Remove from the pan and let it rest for a couple of minutes covered with aluminum foil.
*Drop the cauliflower into the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes or until tender. Using the same pan from the salmon, saute them a little with some of the water from the blanching and emulsify cold butter into it to glaze the vegetables. At this point, you can add some fresh herbs to your liking such as chopped basil or chive, thyme and rosemary. *Place the salmon on the center of the plate and surround it with the cauliflower florets. Drizzle a good amount of the vinaigrette. Serve hot.
When did you first hone in on this passion? I was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and that’s where my culinary journey began. I learned to cook using ingredients I could exclusively find in my hometown. When I was young, my dad would take me to the farmer’s market. He would buy all kinds of different vegetables and fruits that we would eat and prepare throughout the week. I always looked forward to our weekly trip. I knew there would be something new to try and bring home after each visit and I loved how fresh the food was.
The Butterfly is a must try—filled with yuzu delicate mousse and rasberry compote with a pistachio sable PHOTO BY EMILY CHAN
What is a dish not to be missed right now at Le Jardinier? Currently, we have our chestnut & ricotta agnolotti, made with seasonal mushrooms and caramelized salsify, which is a personal favorite of mine. The entire creation process, from making the pasta dough and curdling the milk to make the ricotta cheese, to rolling the soft pillows of pasta, all make for a dish that is mouthwatering, comforting and still light. One of the best parts is that guests also have the option to add black winter truffles. It really brings the dish to another level.
The bar is a buzzy spot for afternoon cocktails PHOTO BY EMILY CHAN
What is your driving force in the kitchen? My team is a huge motivator for me. In a kitchen, it’s all about teamwork, and knowing that I can rely on my team is crucial. They always bring their best to work, and when I teach them something, they find a way to make it even better. It truly makes me happy to have such great people working by my side. I always ask my team “Did you put love in the food?” I truly believe our guests can taste it. I believe we are feeding not just their physical hunger, but their soul. With such a wonderful location at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the stunning design at the restaurant, we try to create experiences for people that will become lifelong memories.
Chef Felipe Botero offers a wide selection of creative concoctions to enjoy. PHOTO BY EMILY CHAN
In 2022, creation is all about... Refined simplicity and creating something new, while still honoring tradition.
What’s an ingredient you don’t dare live without? Olive oil. It is an ancient ingredient that is used across all cuisines and all over the world.