Gourmet daze

Elusive dishes can be easy to prepare
JERRY ANNE DI VECCHIO

Steak Diane

There was a time when gourmet really meant something in a restaurant. Waiters didn't swoop up with a big smile and say, "My name is Amy" or "Andy." Nor did they wear Nicole Miller ties or Ralph Lauren shirts. They wore tuxedos, even white gloves, and somber faces. You were served. The fuss, if properly done, was so intimidating you assumed you could never create dishes such as tournedos Rossini or steak Diane in your own kitchen.

As restaurants became more casual and menus as descriptive as cookbooks, dishes were easier to duplicate at home. Unfortunately, some of the really wonderful classics, confusingly described in French terms, fell by the wayside. But they're coming back.

At the Ritz in Newport Beach, California, steak Diane and veal Oscar are often on the menu. But chef Lupé Camarena makes no mystery about how they're prepared, acknowledging that all those individual sauces simmering in her vast professional kitchen can be broken down into a few ingredients for a single recipe.