The most important is to keep on thinking. To continue to refine your senses

Arpège
Alain Passard

Arpège cuisine– chou farci ouvert – photo by DosSantos/Lemone

A new culinary trend created by Passard

In a French cuisine world that is traditionally centered on meat, Monsieur Passard emerged, near 2001, with a cuisine focused on vegetables. Nowadays, this trend toward healthy and simple food has spread throughout FrenGet out of the beaten tracks.

Passard:
The naturalité is important.

what are your next challenges, what are you interested in?

Passard:
In France we have so many different seeds. I’d like to build on this vast array. We have a huge variety of vegetable for each season. We have many kind of carrots, beets… I like to work on all this traditional French vegetables. Here too, I’m researching, I’m on a quest for something even better. I like to communicate about our traditional cooking, about seasonal vegetables. Our body is craving for seasonal food. Even though nature is providing us with so many vegetables in each season, too many people are eating out of season vegetables. It damages the ecosystem.
I want to incite people to plant their own vegetable garden. There is a lot of creativity in the cuisine from the garden. There is a great complicity with the vegetable garden. We feel very close to the nature, very close to the seasons, very close to our gardener. Gardeners are artists, characters that have become crucial for the quality of our cooking.

Are you going to create a space to eat in your garden?

Passard:
Yes not quite a restaurant, something like dining room, we are going to cook in the middle of the garden.

Arpège books

You published children books: a story book about bugs cooking vegetables, a book describing how your cooking was born, what was your purpose?

Passard:
I want to educate the new generation, to collect a following, pass on a culture. I wrote these books in this spirit.
We are going to go to Japan to launch the book. I really think it’s a good book, I hope every Japanese cook will have one in their kitchen, really.

what is your professional philosophy?

Passard:
It’s to make simple things. To make natural things. To make seasonal things. That’s my philosophy. Simplicity, naturality, seasonality. And hand making things.
What makes the difference in a cook is the flexibility of the hand, the agility.

Arpège  – betterave en croute de sel – photo by DosSantos/Lemone

What is simplicity?

Passard:
Three outstanding ingredients in a plate is all what you need to create a piece of art. Outstanding ingredients, optimum flame, optimum temperature. These are the essential point in the profession.

When are you happy to be a cook?

Passard:
Every day, otherwise it’s not worth it, if you don’t feel happy, passionate, in love, it’s not worth it. Cooking and I, it’s a love story. I took this restaurant over in 1986, it has been 30 years now, and I never left this kitchen. I love this profession. Never once have I thought of opening a second restaurant, or expanding overseas, or opening a bistro. I like this place, I like to stand in that kitchen

Tell us about hardship in your career?

Passard:
I didn’t have any difficult times. My passion is my motivation. With passion, you can overcome any difficulties. Passion is everywhere.

Do you have dreams for the future?

Passard:
I want to keep on doing what I’m doing until the end. Great musicians and painters keep on producing masterpieces until the end of their career, when creativity blossoms, and the hand is more experimented. Like Michel Guérard, I want to create masterful dishes till the end.

Arpège interior

(Interview, text: Akiko AWA, pictures: Hiroki TAGMA)
Chef and Food picture: courtesy of Arpege.

Arpège street

Arpège

Inquiry
+33 1 47 05 09 06
Access
84 rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris FRANCE
Varenne station (Metro 13line)
Hours
12:00-14:30、19:00-22:30
Closed
Saturday and Sunday