Tag Archives: French

Celebrating Bastile Day and New Beginnings at Chez Genese

Here’s a look back at our amazing Chef’s Table last month on Bastile Day as we celebrated French independence (thankful for the French aren’t we, America?) and the amazing mission that has called Kathryn Hubert of Chez Genese.  Check back for an update a bit later with a follow-up as we had the best brunch there the next week.

Read about our night in YES Weekly…

Chez (The Place) Gènese: Genesis or “A new beginning.” 

Kathryn Hubert is reminded of her new beginning every day. Although, Chez Genèse,  her French-inspired cafe has not quite reached its one-year anniversary mark (that happens in late October), one year ago she was in the throes of remodeling her space in downtown Greensboro with an eye on a dream—to find her place in the hospitality industry while helping young adults with mental and intellectual disabilities.

The concept at Chez Genèse has been a dream of Hubert’s for years. “It started out as a really random day dream….if I could have any job in the world, what would it be?” Hubert says she knew almost instantly that it would be to open a restaurant hat helped people achieve a first or second opportunity in life. Inspired by her cousins who have autism, her dream narrowed in scope to working with young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. “They are the heartbeat behind my mission.”

Hubert already had a culinary degree. She lived in France for a year to study French cuisine and afterward graduated from UNC-G with a degree in hospitality. From there, she began working with autistic youth and during that time, she began to visualize her calling.

The young entrepreneur calls her Chez Genèse “French-inspired” in service and in cuisine. “I love French food and culture. I think the generosity that the French have with their time and with their food and the mentality of taking simple, quality ingredients and spending time on them fits hand in hand with what we are trying to achieve from a mission perspective.”

To create a culture that serves.

Taking the fast-paced stressful nature of the restaurant industry into consideration, there was special hiring process for those on her staff with disabilities. “It’s noisy. There are sounds, smells, visual and personal interaction.” Hubert needed to know from each of the applicants how they handled stress and what they would need from her. Training was a good two months followed by intensive training two-weeks prior to opening with refreshers simulating real life experiences and a lot of repetition to increase the staff’s confidence.  “No one on our staff had worked in a restaurant before so we were able to train them the way we wanted to.”

Chez Genèse is breakfast and lunch only with no plans to change. “It allows us all to get back home to our families and recharge and helps us look forward to those special events.” Hubert says she enjoys feature nights, wine dinners and special events because it allows her to break out and test her creativity outside of the regular menu. The Chef’s Table menu was an example of a playful take on seasonal ingredients, celebrating Bastile Day.

First Course

Grilled Peach Burrata Salad with Arugula

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Peaches and blueberries, the fruits of the season, brought beautiful sweetness to this starter course and it contrasted so well with the slightly bitter arugula.  Creamy burrata is a welcome addition to anything at anytime for me.

Second Course

Dry-rub Pork Ribs with Herb Butter & Apple/Fennel Slaw

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The smells coming from the kitchen were signaling what was to come and tantalized us as we awaited its arrival.  The rub gave a great smoky char to the ribs while the tart and sweet slaw cleansed the palate and kept you going back for more.

Third Course

Cheese Course with French Bread, Honeycomb, Fruit

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Hubert wanted to really immerse the group and give us the quintessentially French cheese course.  A cheese course is quite fun and a nice departure during a tasting, particularly after the main course. It readied us for the sweet dream to come.

Fourth Course

Champagne & Raspberry Ice Cream Float

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Super simple and luscious and bubbly. The float was reminiscent of our childhood days with a nice adult spin.

The guests at the Chef’s Table and any patron who visits Chez Genèse knows the time that the kitchen staff is putting in and there’s a sense of patience and graciousness on both sides of table, from guest to server.  And the servers are there for the long haul.

“During our one-on-one meetings, so many of our staff members told us they see this place as their career goal,” Hubert says. “We want them to be here as long as they want to be here, but we’ll also gladly help them be to be a stepping stone on their career path.” Knowing that, Hubert says they cafe is just now at the place where they can help those that want to stay long-term and find fulfilling ways in which to do so. “We’re now asking our employees what they want to do and how we can help them fulfill that personal need of developing new skills or do something different so they don’t feel stuck in the same job.”

And that leads us to what Hubert’s next dream will be and that is to make a broader impact than just her business. The cafe already offers workshops and is focusing on a strong catering business.  In the next year, she plans to roll out a training program for individuals to get training and life skills and she will network with other businesses for job placement. “We could be a revolving door to set people up to succeed in other workplace settings,” she says.

“If you know what drives someone and what motivates them and what they love…if you can tap into that and they come into work and they get to do what they love, their productivity goes up as well as their enjoyment. And I think you can feel that as a team and as a guest when you come here.”

Wanna go? Chez Genèse is located at 660 S. Elm Street, Greensboro. Open for breakfast and lunch, brunch on Sunday.

chezgenese.com

Augustine’s Bistro (now closed)

Augustine's

Bonjour, gourmets! That’s ‘foodies’ in French….

Augustine’s Bistro (401 W. 4th Street, Winston-Salem) is the “revised” new kid on the block. The restaurant space opened a year and a half ago as Mundo Global Tapas, did a little shake-a-roo, and re-opened as a French-country American bistro a few months back. Some of us restaurant-goers liked the idea of tapas and were sad to see those go. But, we LOVE the idea of French in downtown Winston-Salem as it adds to the culture of our city.

My daughter, mother-in-law and I have an annual tradition of seeing The Nutcracker Ballet with a delicious dinner beforehand. Since we chose UNCSA presentation of The Nutrcracker, it couldn’t be more convenient than dinner downstairs at Augustine’s Bistro.

Just about every time I’ve eaten in this space (when it was Dioli’s Trattoria and Mundo) my family and I were shuttled to the back dining room. It’s pretty with a gorgeous Stevens Center chandelier as the restaurant resides there. But I LOVE sitting in the front of the restaurant enjoying the street view and people watching–it’s so French. I was very pleased that’s where we were seated. You really can’t beat a corner seat at Augustine’s. Now…about the food.

Augustine’s Bistro has blend of French and American cuisine with a few items like calamari thrown in. The chef also kept a few of the very popular items from its previous incarnation.  Augustine’s also has a small bar with a great selection of craft cocktails. If French is not your favori, then you don’t have to worry as there’s enough to choose from this side of the pond, like sandwiches and burgers as well as pork tenderloin and a very popular salmon dish. I decided that I’d go all in. So, we ordered Escargot Florentine baked with spinach and parmesan. It was served in perfectly cute escargot serving dish. The escargot was tender and herby. The spinach was cooked perfectly and the cheese was bubbly and toasty and just right.

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My MIL ordered the Crab Bisque. It was very flavorful and riche! She didn’t eat all of it, so I stole it and took it home.

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For my entree, I went with the featured Cassoulet which showcased an amazing “frenched” duck confit on the bone, chorizo sausage and pork belly. It sat on top of a delicious herby, wine infused broth of white beans and tender vegetables. It was si delcieux! Perfect for a cold almost winter’s night. Not sure how French chorizo is, but I didn’t mind it!

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My MIL ordered the steak with frites. Very simple, quite tasty and the steak was perfectly cooked with hand-cut frites and a garlic aioli. We must call them frites, not fries at Augustine’s.  😀

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My daughter ordered buttered noodles—Sigh. Instead of butter, the noodles came with a cream sauce instead, but she still ate a bit of it. And the leftovers, we took home and I added the crab bisque from above to it for lunch a couple of days later. So satisfying.

We actually had time for dessert so I finally introduced my little one to Creme Brulee.  Why wouldn’t I? This creme brulee was magnifique! Little flecks of vanilla bean, a perfect custard, crunchy top that my daughter tried to eat all of. Really, creme brulee is my favorite dessert ever….

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Augustine’s Bistro also has plenty of space for private events so if you are looking for a special occasion place, you know you’ll have a beauty in that location. Be sure to follow them on Facebook or check their website often for announcements regarding special dinners highlighting wine, beer and spirits.

Augustine’s owner Chef Eric Muck might actually be onto something by highlighting his family’s heritage with this new concept. If I had to make any suggestion at all (it’s not about the food or service because it was all terrific), I’d say…”Chef, go more in…heck, go ALL in!” Cassoulet, Beef Bourguignon, Duck a l’Orange, Chicken Dijon, Quiche, Oh oui! And for dessert, Eclairs, Madelines, etc. I mean, you’d eat that wouldn’t you, foodies??? And maybe start offering brunch because you’ve got the perfect brunchy set-up. And French bread for the table, of course. ;). But don’t get rid of the Mushroom Toast. Never ever stop making that, chef.

Do you have a favorite French dish, foodies?

Au revoir!

Augustine’s Bistro
Hours: Tues-Sat, 5pm-10pm

Augustine's Bistro on Urbanspoon