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Michel Blanchet has all of the markings a pedigreed French chef, a lingering Loire Valley accent and cherubic foie gras paunch among them. But the owner of Michel Cordon Bleu fell for the Scottish side of the hors d'oeuvres plate when he opened his Leimert Park smoked fish factory 15 years ago. That's no small protein defection for the former chef of L'Ermitage, L.A.'s famed, and long shuttered, French fine-dining destination.

But there are clear French touches here. For starters, these are hardly the leathery flaps of overly smoked fish with unsettling shelf lives that Americans have come to expect on the corporate cocktail party rounds.

Michel Blanchet At Work; Credit: jgarbee

Michel Blanchet At Work; Credit: jgarbee

That Blanchet's salmon and trout have a surprisingly subtle flavor and delicate texture, even after a devoted half-day hickory smoke, is reflected in his pedigreed wholesale client list that reads like a Top Chef Masters roster.

Fortunately, local proletariat consumers like us can partake in Blanchet's more affordable, and perfectly unadorned, retail renditions.

Michel Cordon Bleu smoked salmon and trout is available at McCall's Meat and Fish in Los Feliz and Surfas in Culver City. For more locations, go to www.mcbleu.com.

Yes, it's that time of year again, or almost. This is one of over 400 pieces that will be appearing in our upcoming Best of L.A. issue, out October 6th.

[More from Jenn Garbee @eathistory + eathistory.com]

LA Weekly