You really become a cook when you create a new flavor
What is your professional philosophy?
In order to reach excellence, we create, innovate, test, and play with all the possibilities of a product. Work and enthusiasm is our motto. Sharing my cooking and passing on my passion for gastronomy is what stimulates me day after day.
What is important in your cuisine?
I think that a great chef is a cook on a quest for the ultimate flavor. Modernity is the foundation of our cuisine. We have to provide what is expected of modern cuisine. We have to make use of the great French cuisine know-hows while integrating the progress in modern technology, in order to offer a radically different cuisine, whose sole purpose is flavor.
I also really like the fact that this cuisine has a strong identity. Creativity, readability and elegance are essential. That said, I also enjoy working with the products of Ile-de-France (the area around Paris), in all simplicity. In this domain, I am very proud and very happy about the sustainability of the work we have done since 2006 to safeguard the Parisian “terroir.”
Where do you find your inspiration as a chef?
Music, sounds, colors, smells, travels, and people I meet… Everything inspires me. A cook has to have the curiosity of a collector. I like to create new dishes, to play with the ingredients, to put together original combinations, to introduce new flavors, to transform, to discover. It is while seeking that one finds.
How does it feel to be at Ledoyen?
It’s good to have your own restaurant. There is a big difference between being a chef and being a cook. I feel it took me over thirty years to finally become a cook and master fire.
I’m finally able to make the cuisine I want. In 2014, we took over the Pavillon Ledoyen to start Alléno Paris; Thanks to hard work and good luck, we earned three Michelin stars and the Gault & Millau toques. And this year, we are entering the ranking of the fifty best restaurants in the world. I’m beyond happy.
Our cuisine is modern, creative, and completely liberated from the nouvelle cuisine genre. We are using a cooking method called Extraction®. It is different from the traditional sauce recipe where you just add water and cook ingredients at the right temperature to harvest their flavor. We are using vacuum pack and centrifuge to chase out water from the ingredient in order to keep only its essence, hence reinventing the whole concept of sauces. We are also using the traditional technique of fermentation to create more powerful Extractions®.
We are studying and discovering ways to present the cuisine of the terroir, and primarily of our wonderful Parisian terroir. I finally realized thanks to fermentation and Extractions® all the treasures it hides. Just as for wine, a celery in Paris doesn’t taste the same as one in Normandy.
The modern cuisine concept that we offer is firmly based on French gastronomic techniques and allies creativity with research and development.
Did you have any specific reason to become part of a jury?
I have been in a lot of competitions and it is a very formative school. That’s why I gladly accepted to be the French mentor for the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2016. Accompanying French finalist Shintaro Awa was a great adventure and I truly believed he had everything it takes to win. The dishes that young chefs are offering nowadays are very impressive, and the competition that opened in Milan under a 5000 square meters tent is a great gateway to success.
Ledoyen offers a new compact lunch menu Le Principal. What is the idea behind this?
A main dish, a drink and a sweet mignardise that can be enjoyed within 45 min is a very innovative concept for a three star restaurant. The idea is to eat well without overeating and to enjoy gastronomy in the limited time available for lunch. Le Principal is a concept that meets such requirements.
Michael Ellis, the director of the Michelin Guide, with whom I spoke recently, told me: “Somebody had to dare to do it, and it’s been done well.” We have seen that, when customers are not worried about the time, they appreciate their dish all the more.