Dover Sole for Dummies | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Restaurant Reviews

Dover Sole for Dummies

Unless you have your own Stepford wife, there's little chance you're going to get home after another crummy day at the office to find a three-course French meal waiting for you. But Chef Paul Collange is trying to change that -- at least for a select number of clients from Plantation to Wellington.

The very rich and the very busy hire the good chef to prepare a week's worth of meals. Collange cooks, wraps, and stacks his works of art in the freezer. Then all these lucky devils have to do is pull out a package of, say, filet mignon and potatoes au gratin and pop it in the oven.

Collange hails from the Lyon area of France, where he learned the ropes apprenticing in a Michelin two-star restaurant. He lives in Delray Beach now with his two teenaged daughters.

The chef decided to try his hand at cooking for the few rather than the many after the French restaurant where he worked for 15 years, Marcel's in Delray, closed in 1999. He wanted to get out of the business. "I lost my wife in '95, and my daughters were 8 and 6 at the time," he says. "I needed a more flexible schedule."

His services don't come cheap, but even if you haven't yet clawed your way to the top of the corporate ladder, you can still live like a millionaire for one evening. Chef Paul organizes "Cooking Aspirations" events for up to 12 people in your home (he acknowledges that the per-person price drops with the quantity of people you invite, but he very civilly dodged all questions on cost). Presumably the "aspirations" part of the title has to do with your vain hope that you'll ever be able to turn out a half-decent cr´me brlée.

You and your buddies can either sit back with a cocktail and watch him pull together a three-course meal or get your hands dirty. If you take the interactive route, Chef Paul will teach you to turn out, for instance, a not-inedible "family style" meal of salad, meat loaf, garlic mashed potatoes, and apple crumble (and if you think that sounds banal, you don't know this guy). A gourmet menu might include a salad of shiitake mushrooms and scallops, a fillet of sea bass, and a strawberry cake. Then you get to sit down and eat it.

And Collange isn't like some cooking-school teachers. He won't throw your sauce against the kitchen wall. Instead, he'll save you from yourself. Call him at 561-274-8560.