For 15 seasons, Australian-based French-born chef Gabriel Gaté hosted SBS’s Taste le Tour, a snacky segment that aired before the broadcaster crossed to the main act, the Tour de France. Before cyclists endured the daily route through stunning French villages and cities, and in later years surrounding European countries, the chef took viewers through the nuances of French cuisine and cooking.
He retired from the gig last year and now another French-born, Aussie-based chef, Guillaume Brahimi, is taking over for the 107th Tour de France (which was postponed due to Covid-19). The 21-episode show is newly named Plat du Tour and Brahimi will be covering regional French cooking relating to the different stages of the race.
To kick off the race on Saturday August 29 in Nice in the South of France, Brahimi is making a classic Provençal dish, ratatouille, with an olive tapenade. Other dishes include bouillabaisse (stage six) and this one, Paris mash (stage 17). This decadent, buttery dish is one of Brahimi’s signature dishes, and he’ll be whipping it up as cyclists race around Grenoble, a city surrounded by the French Alps (and known for its potato dishes – particularly gratin).
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If you ever dined at one of Guillaume’s restaurants (Sydney’s Guillaume at Bennelong; Bistro Guillaume in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney), you might remember this triumph. And if you ever suspected that its appeal had something to do with extremely generous lashings of butter and a very generous whack of salt, this recipe will leave you in no doubt.
Guillaume says he named the simple dish after a French magazine. “When I first moved to Australia, my mum would send me copies of the tabloid magazine Paris Match so I would know what was going on in my home town,” he says. “It morphed into [the name of the] dish.”
There’s not much to it but there are a couple tricks that will help you master the posh potato puree. Don’t peel the potatoes before you boil them and pass the vegetable through a grater and a sieve (see below). Trust us, this is good enough to eat by itself.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
4 large desiree potatoes, approximately 600g in total
200g cold, unsalted butter, diced
Fine sea salt
Place the unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25–30 minutes. (Test the potatoes by piercing them with a sharp knife. If they are ready, the blade will come out clean with no residue.) Drain well.
Peel the potatoes while they are still hot, using a tea towel to protect your hands.
Pass the peeled potatoes through a mouli (hand-operated grater) and then a drum sieve (or regular sieve) and into a saucepan. If you don’t have a mouli, you can use a fine sieve instead. Then use a wooden spoon to stir the mash until all the moisture is removed (you want the potato to be dry to the touch).
Bring the milk to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Place the mash potato over low heat and add 50 grams of butter, stirring until combined. Add 50ml of milk and stir until combined. Repeat until all of the butter and milk has been added and the mash is creamy and light.
Season with salt to taste.
Plat du Tour and the Tour de France begins on Saturday August 29 and runs until Sunday September 20. For broadcast times see here.