August 4, 2007

Ratatouille: for the kids, by the kids

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Ratatouille promotion at Bite of Seattle; in the movie, ratatouille is served to the top restaurant critic in Paris.

Ratatouille has grossed a quarter billion simoleons since its release last month, but the biggest kick might be that it's getting kids interested in French food. Daisley Gordon, the chef at Seattle's Campagne, is even giving Saturday morning ratatouille cooking classes.

In the film, the plot turns on a remarkably tasty, multi-layer eggplant ratatouille (actually devised by über-chef Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se). "I just loved the movie, which captured the texture of a French restaurant kitchen perfectly, and the floor plan reminded me of La Tour d'Argent," Gordon said. "I went to the show on opening night, and it was packed. I knew I had to do something."

As it happens, Gordon is allergic to eggplant, so his version uses onions, garlic, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and olives, topped with house-made fennel sausage and baked in the oven. His young charges diced, sliced. chopped and sautéed their own vegetables, and helped sous-chef Nikki Schiebel stuff the sausage casings.

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Kids make ratatouille with fennel sausage in the kitchen at Campagne.

The kids banter. Eight-year-old Robert opens with a gross-out question: "Do you like snails?" Eleven-year-old Danielle doesn't bat an eye. "I eat them in France, where they don't overcook them," she says. A smile from Robert. "Yeah, that makes them taste like rubber." "Yuk."

Eventually, they taste the ratatouille. They agree it's delicious.

The next ratatouille class at Campagne is on August 11th.

Campagne, 86 Pine St., 206-728-2800 Campagne on Urbanspoon

Posted by Ronald Holden at August 4, 2007 3:16 PM

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