This month, the Hudsons are launching a new take on their seasonal menu at their C’sons fine dining restaurant in downtown LaGrange, and it’ll take you on a tour around the world using local food.
Charles and Chase Hudson have been focusing on seasonal, locally grown items for their menu for almost a decade now, but this new menu series is set to take guests on a culinary tour of cuisine from around the world.
“What we’ve been from day one is a local, farm-to-table, fine dining establishment,” executive chef Devin White said. “We really focus on changing the menu with the season, but also changing the menu when products become available.”
The first stop on this culinary journey will be the country where culinary tradition as we know it first began — France.
“Now, we are going to be changing the menu every two months, and we are going to have basically a themed menu,” White said. “Our first menu is going to be French inspired, so we are going to be doing classical French cuisine. After that, we are probably going to do a menu that is more along the lines of a creole style, which will be a good collaboration of classical French cuisine brought to America and the south. And then after two months, we’ll change the menu again.”
The French menu for C’sons will feature about six entrees, including steak au poivre, duck a l’orange and coq au vin. The classic French dishes will be prepared with local ingredients like locally raised beef and chickens. The coq au vin, a braised chicken dish, will be offered with the traditional rooster as an option, though C’sons will require 48 hour advanced notice to order the dish with a rooster. The advanced order dish will serve about four people.
“It is things that people see, but aren’t readily available,” White said. “The places that do offer it are nice establishments – just like the coq au vin. Places that serve coq au vin don’t just throw it together and put it on the menu.”
The new menu will take on a more educational approach with details on the ingredients and how each dish is prepared.
“We are going to end up taking more of a teaching restaurant approach, so we are going to do a lot of cooking seminars in the restaurant,” owner Chase Hudson said. “We’ll do wine dinners. We’ll do a lot more themed menus that will have kind of a learning approach to them.”
White hopes to use this teaching approach to the menu to breathe new life into classic dishes, and maybe even encourage guests to try something new at home.
“(We want to) just give people an all-around experience and be able to show why we did these things,” White said. “A little background information on the stuff that we are doing. We are just trying to showcase that we are not just someone who gets local ingredients and puts them on the table. We want to try to show that we can execute more unique, classical dishes and bring things back to life that may have been gone for a while.”
That teaching approach will also mean that the restaurant will be hosting the cooking classes that have been a common request over the years. The cooking classes are expected to take place after every second menu and will feature a five-course dinner and wine pairing with live cooking demonstrations, according to the “passport experience” guide detailing the update.
“After each menu that we do for two months, we are talking about doing cooking classes where we can teach people how to cook some of the menu items that we offered,” White said. “It would give people more of a personal experience.”
The cooking classes will likely take place in the C’sons dining room, and the classes would include wine pairings chosen by Hudson, who is also the restaurant’s sommelier, featuring some of the best wines from the region or that most complement the menu.
Wine tastings and theme dinners will also be part of the new menu.
Guests won’t be the only ones learning something through the themed menus though. White hopes that he and his staff will be able to learn and grow through the new menus as well.
“It helps evolve my knowledge and refine my skills bringing new things to the table,” White said. “It allows me to experiment again. It allows me to do things that are kind of outside my comfort zone and be able to master that and execute it where we can actually offer it.”
These themed menus and education will still allow the restaurants to remain true to C’sons and Mare Sol’s mission of serving locally grown meat and produce as much as possible.
“I still want to tie in local ingredients,” White said. “I still want to tie in dishes that are appropriate for the time of the year, so those are other factors when we are trying to write these menus. Just because it is a French menu, doesn’t mean we’re going to put stuff on there that would be served in the middle of the summer. We want things that are served this time of year — seasonal — so there is more than one element to the equation with this menu. I do want to use as many local products as possible.”
Those local products create a connection between more than just the restaurant and the farm. According to White, guests sometimes recognize friends from the list of farmers that provide items like meat and vegetables to the restaurants.
“Whenever I put those things on the menu, people are like, ‘oh yeah, I know Danny Sims’ because he’s been around LaGrange for a little while,” White said.
“He actually has farm days now where people come to his farm. Local is good.”
C’sons is located at 120 Main Street. To learn more about the restaurant or its sister restaurant Mare Sol, visit Csons.net or call (706) 298-0892.