French food passion for C of C professor

David Desplaces in the kitchen.

Our featured home cook is a lover of French food and finds his spice of life in the kitchen.

Remember, we’re always on the hunt for good home cooks and their “back stories.”

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Briefly describe the person’s talent and how you know him or her, and provide their phone number or email address so we can contact them.

Name: David Desplaces.

Age: 42.

Residence: Mount Pleasant.

Occupation: College of Charleston professor teaching entrepreneurship.

Family: Wife, Jill; children, Jack, 11, and Drew, 7; and two dogs, Millie and Scout

Q. How long have you been interested in cooking, and what or who got you going?

A. I have loved cooking forever, as I watched my grandmother and mom cook during my entire childhood. I was offered opportunities to work in family or friends’ restaurants, which only fueled my interest. My only aspirations were to be a cook on a French navy ship, but I got to love education.

Q. We’re told that French cuisine is your real joy. Tell us about a dish that represents the finest of French cooking to you, and why you think so.

A. Langouste a L’Armoricaine (lobster in a spicy tomato base sauce). It is both light and full of flavors.

Q. You are a Boy Scout leader and enjoy “feeding the troops.” Kids can be finicky eaters, so what do you make that they are sure to eat?

A. It is not what we make but how we make it. Boys will eat almost anything at campouts, as long as they are part of the cooking, including eating carrots and other vegetables. Of course, Dutch oven desserts are usually the reward after a long day of camping that keeps the troop motivated to eat their vegetables.

Q. Over the holidays you were traveling overseas. To where, and what did you eat that was most interesting?

A. I just returned from Dubai, where the food is simply eclectic and diverse. I simply enjoy all Middle Eastern lamb-related dishes served with saffron-flavored rice and salad tabbouleh.

Q. What are the parallels between entrepreneurship and good culinary instincts?

A. You have to learn to adapt, be guided by the science but recognize that the art is what will make the dish unique and enjoyable for your guests or customers.

Q. What chef or cook would you love to sit down with and pick their brain? Why?

A. Bobby Flay because I like his style, (his) kind of cooking, but also because he has a passion for teaching.

Q. In January, I always like to fix ...

A. Curry Ginger Soup with artisan bread.

A favorite recipe:

Pork Meritage
For 6 people

Ingredients

11/2 cups sliced sweet onions

4 tablespoons butter, divided use

1/3 bottle port wine (or more if you like a lot of sauce), divided use

11/2 pounds pork medallions, sliced 3/4-inch thick

Salt and pepper to taste

5 tablespoons light brown sugar

3 to 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

10 ounces crumbled blue or Gorgonzola cheese

Directions

Over medium heat, cook sliced onions with 2 tablespoons butter until transparent and starting to brown a little. Add 4 tablespoons of port wine when onions start to brown to flavor them and wet them, and keep aside (does not have to be kept warm).

In a separate ovenproof pan, cook pork medallions with 2 tablespoons butter (may require different batches) about 4 to 6 minutes on both sides. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add light brown sugar to medallions, letting sugar mix with the pork, and cook 1 minute.

Add mustard and half of the onions and mix well, creating a thick sauce.

Add port wine slowly, turning frequently to get the necessary sauce and thickness you desire. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the pork medallions from pan (keep sauce on low heat) by putting on nonstick oven tray. Create a compact mount but like a rose, with only one end of each medallion toping each other) and cover with an equal amount of remaining cooked onions.

Top with the crumbled blue cheese. Broil in the oven for 1 minute to melt the cheese (do not burn).

Plate immediately (great on top of mashed potatoes) by putting sauce around the plate, but do not put sauce on top of the cheese-onion-pork, as it will alter the presentation.

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