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Côte d’Or Café Hopes to Show Off ‘Healthier Side of French Cooking’

A restaurant in East Falls Church is looking to shake the idea that French cooking is unhealthy.

Chef Jacques Imperato, who took over Côte d’Or Café (6876 Lee Highway) earlier this year, hopes to show off “the healthier side of French cooking” with seasonal menus and a lighter approach to making food.

Imperato, who attended culinary school in Nice, France and previously owned Chalet de la Paix and Mediterranee restaurants in Arlington and Great Falls, aims to achieve his goal by cooking with seasonal ingredients and low-calorie alternatives in a “modern classic Burgundy style.”

That means instead of making sauces with heavy cream, for instance — butter, cream, flour and cheese are hallmarks of French cuisine — Imperato uses healthier oils.

“The Burgundy cooking style uses less cream than other French regions use in their cooking,” he said. 

In place of processed or prepared foods, the chef prepares dishes with “fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are fresh and in-season.” Last week, Imperato served a dinner where peaches starred as the primary ingredient in every dish, for example.

Grass fed beef is also now on the menu, Imperato noted.

“Grass fed beef is all they had when Burgundy style cooking was concocted and that kind of beef adds an earthy taste to the dishes,” he said. “When you substitute poor corn fed beef the dishes lose the taste that is essential in this style of cooking.”

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