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COOL AS ICE

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Nonchalant and indifferent, two-Michelin-starred guest chef Thierry Marx walks between the dining tables at Vida Rica, inspecting the faces and expressions of discerning diners who flock to the restaurant for the very best of his creative and modern French cuisine. Known for his acclaimed restaurants, Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx and Camélia at Mandarin Oriental, Paris, Thierry Marx marries French tradition and Asian influences with inspirations drawn from his extensive travels and a career that has taken him to Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan.
Quiet and mysterious, Chef Marx has the personality of an artist. While he is not talkative, his works speak on his behalf, revealing an individual who is meticulous, precise, and sensitive and audacious. As the Executive Chef and Culinary Director at Mandarin Oriental, Paris, he is one of France’s most distinguished chefs, trained with some of the country’s best talents at restaurants including Ledoyen, Taillevent and Robuchon. He was awarded his first Michelin star in 1988 at Roc en Val in Tours, and another at Cheval Blanc in Nîmes in 1991. Having spent 10 years at Château Cordeillan-Bages, a Relais & Châteaux in Gironde, where he has held two Michelin stars since 1999, he was elected Chef of the Year by the GaultMillau guide and by Le Chef magazine in 2006. After that, he once again received two Michelin stars in March 2012, with Mandarin Oriental, Paris’ signature restaurant, Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx.
Like an elegant work of art, the pressed chicken breast with duck liver and black truffle terrine arrives at our table. A renowned dish offered at Camélia, the creation offers various textures and tastes, all pressed together like a piece of perfectly cut marble, dark and mysterious, exquisite and cold, yet overwhelmingly seductive and beautiful. It has the air of an ice queen, an unapproachable woman who stirs one’s imagination once she finally speaks.
The dessert of the six-course degustation dinner is an oxymoron, as it combines an overall simplicity with an inner complexity. A lover of sake, I am thrilled by the fact that for the first time in my life, I have the privilege of savoring a type of “sake ice-cream.” Titled “Frozen sake,” the final dish on the remarkable menu is a block of white, rectangular delight.
“This is extremely intriguing,” I say to my dining companions.
The delicious, sweet but subtle rice-wine flavor of sake blends marvelously with the smooth, silky texture of cream.  I use a small fork to poke at the wonder, then slowly scoop a small quantity into my mouth. The frozen cream melts into a milky, fragrant liquid. Predominantly black and white with a bit of color, Chef Marx’s work is clearly made for sophisticated grown ups, especially for icy personalities.

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