‘The choice of one’s profession is extremely tricky and often fate has to step in’ - everything started with those Sunday lunches at my maternal grandparents… the scent of ‘home-churned’ butter wafted through the corridors, whetting the appetite of the whole family who had come together to eat. Then there was hotel school in Paris, La Grande Cascade and 2 stars at Restaurant Gérard Pangaud, Paris.
After 9 years spent in Japan, in 1991 I came back to take charge of L’Oasis, an institution on the Côte d’Azur expertly run by Louis Outhier. It wasn’t long before my brothers, Antoine and François signed up for the adventure. The next year, we were awarded two stars by the Michelin Guide and things were just fine!
Today, our fine property is multi-facetted: in addition to our gourmet restaurant, L’Oasis, there is also a bistrot, ‘L’Etage’, a ‘Pâtisserie-Boulangerie-Chocolaterie’ and ‘L’Oasis Gourmet Workshops’.
What was your most moving culinary experience?
It goes back to the hotel school where I discovered the flavours of fish sauces made to order: from filleting the fish to the frying pan, a bit of butter, some finely chopped shallot, white wine, fish stock, cream, reducing the sauce, and then coating the fish. These memories are, in a sense, as strong as the number of excellent meals I have experienced since then.
The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
I was on a work placement and a cook ‘of rather small stature’ had been sent to the trout tank. He took his time getting back… with his trout… and soaked to the skin as you might expect!
Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Choose seasonal produce, of the finest quality, prepared as simply as possible. If you enjoy treating yourself and you enjoy treating other people, you cannot fail to be a good cook.