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The French Gourmet: Dining in, taking out and catering all culinary genres

SAN DIEGO -- Don’t let the “French” in The French Gourmet scare you.

So says Michel Malecot, owner and chef.

If you take a moment to glance over the menu, you’ll quickly learn why. The current breakfast and lunch offerings include Eggs Benedict, Sweet and Savory Crêpes, Chicken Pot Pie and Shrimp Scampi. You may also be pleasantly surprised to learn their three-course $25.95 prix fixe dinner comes with options like filet mignon, fresh catch of the day, and even some vegetarian dishes.

“We offer many types of food,” Malecot said. “Our restaurant offers more than just French cuisine. The same is true for when we cater. We have done everything from Mexican fiestas, to Asian cuisine, to contemporary American. It’s our goal to exceed the expectations of our customers when they come to our restaurant or when we provide service at a party.”

What started off in 1979 as a bakery and full-service catering business on Pearl Street in La Jolla has grown markedly over the years. Since that time The French Gourmet has moved to its current 15,000-square-foot facility on Turquoise Street that houses their quaint restaurant, bakery, catering commissary and wine boutique.

Throughout the years, Malecot has discovered the benefits and conveniences for his customers of catering-to-go, whether it’s picked up at their bakery or delivered by one of their friendly staff. “If someone is having a dinner for eight at their house, for example, we can prepare hors d'oeuvres, a salad, a main course, two side dishes and even a dessert,” Malecot said.

This can be especially helpful during the holidays.

“During the holidays we offer free-range turkeys and all of the trimmings,” he said. “We like to say ‘We do the cooking, you take the credit!’ If it’s a pot luck you need something for, we can do finger foods and appetizers or entrees, side dishes, desserts and cakes. Our customers like the ease of our pick up or delivered catering because they can pick and choose items that will allow them to get some of what they need to complement their own holiday specialties.”

If you’re looking to have an event fully catered, they can help with that as well.

“We can do everything from small parties and weddings, to corporate events and black tie galas with hundreds of people,” Malecot said. “We can provide all the tables and chairs, linens and place settings. We have all of the equipment for setting up an off-site kitchen, as needed. We also have everything we need to keep the food temperatures safe, and we can pace everything out into courses. We make sure our clients have nothing to worry about and can ensure that everything goes smoothly.”

The French Gourmet also has a full alcoholic beverage license, which adds to the convenience of their service. Malecot said he personally tastes all the wine he purchases to ensure his customers are offered the highest quality selections.

“We take our work very seriously,” Malecot said. “Most of our food is made from scratch and we always try to use local products as much as we can. We use fish and vegetables that are in season and I’ve trained my staff to cook our food in a way that is healthy yet tastes delicious.”

The details

Whether you’re planning an event for two or 500, The French Gourmet can help. No matter your budget, location or size of your party, they will work with you to create a menu and style that complements both your event and your checkbook. Or, if you’d simply like to stop by and grab a bite, you can always visit their Restaurant and Bakery at 960 Turquoise St. in North Pacific Beach. For more information, call 858-488-1725 or visit their website.