Whatever grumpy detractors may say, eggs mayonnaise are a serious business, consummately cultural, requiring awesome accuracy, and attracting a fanatical following. The recipe for perfect eggs mayonnaise follows a very stringent specification, but remains shrouded in a mystery as densely unctuous as an old-school mayonnaise whipped up with a wooden spoon. It all lies in a knack – perhaps revealed in whispered tones at the end of a long evening – in a well-kept secret or, to put it simply, in respect for a job well done. For several years, the ASOM (Association for the Protection of Eggs Mayonnaise) has been upholding the tradition of this unpretentious dish with fervent enthusiasm and skill by organising the world championships in this discipline, thus fulfilling its objectives of promoting the gastronomic tradition of eggs mayonnaise, protecting their authenticity, raising the profile of loyal professionals and enthusiasts, and passing on the recipe to the next generation. The world championship, which brings the skills of the best chefs to bear on this iconic dish, which is so simple yet so complex, now has its own official timekeeper: MATWATCHES. To ensure a long and fruitful partnership, the French watchmaking house presents the EGG MASTER watch, the first chronograph designed for boiling an egg. You asked for it, we delivered.
THE EGG MASTER WATCH – THE STORY OF A FRIENDSHIP
Sometimes an idea emerges without warning; the seed takes root at the back of our minds, germinates, shoots off at a tangent, and then blossoms naturally at just the right moment. In this case, its origins lie in the friendship between the founder and CEO of MATWATCHES, Fabrice Pougez, and journalist and timepiece writer Paul Miquel, who joined the ranks of ASOM during lockdown and carried out a multitude of tests to try and establish the perfect cooking time for eggs mayonnaise. Frequent discussion partners, they like to swap ideas, and share the same epicurean values: “What if we approached the Association for the Protection of Eggs Mayonnaise with a watch equipped with a timer to calculate the exact cooking time for the egg?” suggested Paul Miquel. “All we would have to do is adapt the basic countdown function on a regatta watch to boiling an egg.” And there you have it! Fabrice Pougez was particularly taken with the idea as he had already designed a regatta watch for the French team competing in the 35th America’s Cup.
At this point, the ebullient Sébastien Mayol, one of the four co-presidents of ASOM, entered the picture. The first two conspirators raised the idea with him of a timer designed for boiling eggs. Sébastien Mayol, a former sales manager in the advertising business and now a budding restaurateur, initially suspected a prank, but then realised that this was not an idle suggestion. But an ASOM watch? Really? “You bet!” he replied. Prototyping then began with the Swiss designer Christian Chabloz, the fourth member of the gang. He had designed dozens of watches for dozens of brands. He entered into the spirit of the project and brought graphical rigour to the design while keeping his tongue firmly in his cheek. The object of desire was finalised after some epic debates and several weeks of development. The watch was called the EGG MASTER. It won’t give you a hard time, but trust us, it will hard-boil your eggs to perfection
Finitions horlogères et grande bataille des 8 mn 40 !
With its 44 mm diameter steel case, the EGG MASTER chronograph takes a serious approach to a light-hearted matter, and brings a light touch to a serious business. Powered by a Swiss quartz movement, it is proud to confirm that size does indeed matter. The opaline dial bears the ASOM’s crest at 6 o’clock, topped by its motto “Le temps passe, les oeufs durent” (Time passes, but eggs stay firm) with the words flowing horizontally like a tablecloth on a table. The easy-to-use countdown function can be personalised to suit all short cooking times: simply unscrew the crown and position the central hand on the desired time using the lower pusher – three minutes for a boiled egg, six minutes for a softboiled egg, and between 8 and 9 minutes for a hard-boiled egg. An alarm rings every minute and speeds up several seconds before the end of the cooking time, when the central hand moves over the stylised chef’s hat at the midday mark. This means that it’s time to eat.
Supplied with a set of three straps (leather, canvas and rubber), the EGG MASTER watch is made in France and sports its bright colours with pride: red for the elements associated with cooking the egg, blue as a reference to the ASOM, and yellow… because it’s the colour of the heart and very soul of an egg. The four members of the ASOM’s chairman’s office (Vincent Brenot, Pierre-Yves Chupin, Sébastien Mayol, and Gwilherm de Cerval) met in a secret conclave to establish once and for all the perfect cooking time for a hard-boiled egg. This was not a straightforward matter; it all depends on altitude, the size of the egg, the exact temperature of the cooking water, and many other factors besides. After much verbal cut-and-thrust, and specious arguments advanced by some members, a consensus of 8 minutes 40 seconds was finally reached. A stylised index in the form of an egg therefore boasts pride of place on the countdown bezel to mark this unassailable truth. Spread the word!
2019 : Bouillon Pigalle (Paris XVIII)
2018 : Le Griffonnier (Paris VIII)
2013 : Auberge D’Chez eux (Paris VII)
2012 : L’Évasion (Paris VIII)
2011 : Chez Flottes (Paris I)
2010 : Les Petites Sorcières (Paris XIV)
Retail price: 1199 €
Online sales by subscription: merairterre.com
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN PARIS ON SEPTEMBER 7TH, 2020
ASOM, THE ASSOCIATION DE SAUVEGARDE DE L’OEUF MAYONNAISE
The Society for the Protection of Eggs Mayonnaise, founded by food writer Claude Lebey, and recently relaunched by four seasoned gourmets, has set itself clear objectives and ambitions: to promote the gastronomic tradition of eggs mayonnaise, protect their authenticity, raise the profile of loyal professionals and enthusiasts, and hand down the recipe to the next generation. It is sponsored by Lebey restaurant guides which published the first book specifically devoted to bistros and to this iconic Parisian tradition in 1987. The World Championship is only open to chefs in France and abroad who offer this dish on their menus. Contenders for the 2020 edition have been selected by ASOM’s Board of Directors, which was keen to be objective and put forward both bistros and restaurants, most of which have earned their place in top restaurant guides.
The ASOM has produced the famous “Eggs Mayonnaise Charter” which sets the benchmark. Eggs mayonnaise must be made from a large hen’s egg, cooked right through, but not overcooked, so that the yolk is soft but not runny. The mayonnaise must be homemade and not be too stiff, with the right consistency to coat the eggs; it should be sufficiently copious to cover some or all of the eggs, with a little left over to mop up with a piece of bread. Eggs mayonnaise can be accompanied by raw vegetables and/or cooked seasonal vegetables. The dish must be perfectly chilled. The plate must look appetising and generous – three half eggs plus a garnish. Service temperature should reflect the season: not so cold that it adversely affects the taste and texture of the ingredients, and not so hot that the mayonnaise splits or runs.
The next Eggs Mayonnaise World Championship will be held on 7 September in Paris, at the Brasserie Gallopin, 40 rue Notre-Dame-des- Victoires, Paris 2ème. An exceptional crop of contestants will be scrutinised by outstanding judges, who will select an eatery to champion this dish until June 2021. There are five scoring criteria for judges, chaired this year by Stéphane Jégo, chef at the Parisian restaurant L’Ami Jean: general appearance and presentation (mark out of 20), general taste (out of 20), size, cooking and taste of the egg (out of 20), quality, texture and taste of the mayonnaise (out of 20) and accompaniment (out of 20).