The name of the best sauce on earth:  grand veneur.  It’s a small poivrade, basically.  I’ve only had it once; you pretty much never see it any more.  Who has game bones and hare’s blood lying around?  Not me.  But I’m telling you, if you ever see it on a menu (extraordinarily unlikely), jump on it.  The one time I had it was a mind-blowing, life-changing experience.  Seriously.  I know that sounds like a crazy exaggeration or like I’m trying too hard to make a point, but it’s true.

I’ve had more culinary experiences than I can count (everybody eats every day, right?), and very, very few of them have been mind-blowing and life-changing.  I can count ’em on one hand.

  • Curry in Greenwich, England.  I don’t remember the name of the restaurant.
  • Green sauce in my hometown–El Paso.
  • Chef Louise Duhamel’s foie gras fritters.
  • Cantonnier cheese.
  • Le sauce grand veneur.


I don’t think that I’m a food snob.  These days, I live mostly on a diet of frozen pizza, Arby’s, corn dogs, and whatever’s on sale at Wal-Mart.  I eat well when I can (even Wal-Mart sells Gruyère–though it ain’t cheap), but mostly I’ve just been lucky.  My grandmother gave me $2,000 when I was eighteen, which is how I wound up eating curry in Greenwich.  I was born and raised in El Paso, home of some of the best food on earth.  I went to culinary school in 1999 and got to hang on the heels of extraordinary people like Chef Louise Duhamel, Chef Michel Leborgne, and Chef Robert Barral.  Right before that, I worked with a very canny caterer and good friend, Wayne Roberts, and then a sweetheart owner/operator named Saiid Radpay.  I got to work with Chef Pascal Vignau at the Four Seasons in Carlsbad, California, and Chef Devlin Fredenrich in Bel Air, Maryland.  One of my best, lifelong friends is Chef Big Al Brooks, of Johns-Hopkins University in Baltimore.

So, you see, I’ve been very, very lucky.  Every time I go to work, I get to eat like a prince.  Not many people have that luxury.  If I’m in the mood for thick-sliced, applewood-smoked bacon on brioche with roasted red pepper aïoli, no problem–it’s all right there in front of me.  If I get bored and curious, wondering what a deep-fried avocado tastes like–well, there are the avocados, and there’s the fryer (tastes like toasty, buttered nuts, by the way).

After all of these experiences, I can tell you that the biggest jewel in the crown is le sauce grand veneur.  If you want to have a bash at it yourself,