A dream come true
What is important for you to keep moving forward?
Progress begins with questioning. We must have rigor and precision, and always aim at perfecting ourselves. We must push our thinking even further, and go where no one expects. I have a passion for cooking and I love creation. And I don’t want to refrain this creativity. I pay attention to my surroundings and to people, because the people around me support me and give me the resources necessary to go forward.
When are you happy to be a cook?
I’m happy every day. I am living my passion, I have the best team around me, my staff is enthusiastic, and together we are making modern cuisine. We are making a cuisine that we want to share with our clients, and our clients are giving us a warm response. With my team, we are pursuing a great project; and every day I step into my kitchen with joy.
What is your favorite dish and favorite desert?
I’m really a gourmet and I like a multitude of dishes. If I had to choose one only, I would pick a beautiful perfectly grilled rib steak, on a sublime gratin Dauphinois. My favorite dessert is the Saint Honoré cake.
What are your hobbies outside the kitchen?
I like to spend time with family and friends. When I have time, I always spend it with my family and friends. I also love going to the market for the ambiance, the smells, the flavors… I search, I discuss, I wander around… It is a real moment of relaxation and inspiration. I also like contemporary art, and when possible I visit exhibitions, museums and art galleries. Also, I often go to the flea market in Saint-Ouen.
What is your dream?
My dream is to export French gastronomy and that’s what I’m doing daily. Therefore, I want to be able to pursue this goal forever.
Do you have a message for young cooks?
The keys to success are creativity and work – a lot of work – constant reassessment and an open mind to the world. Take the time to learn and acquire a perfect mastery of culinary techniques. Our profession is made of precise gestures and dexterity which are acquired through observation and repetition. Your career is not a sprint, but rather a long distance race. If you take the time necessary to master the fundamentals, your progress will be more outstanding.
I sincerely believe that with passion, hard work, rigor and creativity, everything is possible.
It is also important to trust your guts. It is hard not to be thrown off course or influenced, but you must have the courage to follow your intuition.
(Translation of e-mail interview: Akiko AWA; Photo portraits: Geoffroy de Boismenu; Food and restaurant pictures: Philippe Vaurès)