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3 Minutes & Voila! Crepes à la DuBois
by Cora Lewis | Aug 22, 2013 12:10 pm
Posted to: Arts & Culture, Dining, Food, Chef Of The Week
As he spread a disc of batter onto a hot griddle, Alban DuBois ripped a small hole with a slight jerk of the wrist, then covered it quickly—the way he learned to do it from his mom in the French Alps.
DuBois, 24, recreated his mother’s recipe to make crepes the other day for visitors to the Yale Art Gallery at a crepe cart that will become a fixture on the corner of Chapel and High streets this September.
Growing up in a village of 300 in the Alps, near the Italian border, DuBois ate at least a crepe a week – usually after skiing, with hot wine with orange and sugar.
“In France, we have much more cheese, so we have much more choice,” he said. “We’d use gruyere or comte.” In the savory crepes he made for his sidewalk customers the other day, DuBois used Monterey Jack.
“At home, we make crepes on the pan, so we can flip them,” he said.
After spreading the batter, DuBois added tomatoes, pre-sliced, to save time. The crepe cooks very fast, so prep is especially important for street vendors. (Click on the video at the top of the story to watch him at work.)
Since DuBois’s village was near Grenoble, where many Americans went to study, his family frequently rented out a room to international students. After having met so many people his age studying abroad, DuBois decided to do the same.
On a fourth-month work-travel visa in the U.S., DuBois will spend the summer making crepes and then take a month to tour the Northeast. He said he needs to improve his English, since he studied international business and biotechnology, which requires greater fluency than he currently has.
The new downtown crepe cart is run by a West Hartford-based bakery called La Petite France. It mainly caters public and private events, DuBois said, such as the recent Litchfield jazz festival. The crepe cart is scheduled to return outside the YUAG from 11-6 on Thursdays and Fridays starting in September, with a different master at the griddle.
Despite the bright sun and August heat on Chapel Street, DuBois kept on a black beret all afternoon. “No one wears this in France,” he said. “I just need to cover my hair while I cook.”
Layering strips of ham on the top of the crepe, over the base of melted cheese and tomato, DuBois folded the hyper-thin pancake twice, forming a wedge, and slid it, using a hand to steady the final product, onto a paper plate. The whole process took less than three minutes. The dish was consumed in about the same amount of time.
Tags: Alaban DuBois, crepes, food carts
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This is a great thing about the city. All the food carts and food trucks all over. I have sampled some and the food is really good. I can’t wait to try this as well.
At the risk of being pedantic, Le Petite France? If the bakery is pretending to be French, they might try get the definite article correct. LA PETITE FRANCE!! Monsieur Dubois has perhaps been polite and not mentioned this to the bakery. But in France they might be laughed out of la cuisine. As a French waiter once corrected me for saying un quenelle, “you want une quenelle, mademoiselle?”
That aside, another great addition to the food scene in New Haven.