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I was predestined to become an executive chef. The son and grandson of a pastry cook, I was already used to the strict requirements of patisserie. Ordinary cooking was almost easier... When I was little I was already an enthusiast. Not for anything in the world would I have missed the cult cooking broadcast of the day: with Raymond Oliver and Catherine Langeais. A daily feast!When I was 16 I went to the Couronne in Rouen, the property on the Place du Vieux Marché. I served a three-year apprenticeship there, learning the hard way. After that I embarked on a tour of France to complete my training, finishing up with a job as chef at the Château d’Audrieu in Calvados. In 1984, I returned home to my native town. I opened a little restaurant on rue de Saint Nicolas, right next to the cathedral. My wife Sylvie and I together decided to enlarge our business by moving to the banks of the river. There overlooking the Seine we and our loyal team give of our very best.I can sum up my cuisine in two concepts: freshness and respect for produce.
Our long-time supplier closed down its operations a few months ago. Since then, a few small farms in the area have decided to start raising Duclair ducks. This species is also known as canard rouennais, or Rouen duck, because Rouen is the birthplace of the famous recipe for caneton à la Denise – “blood duck.”
I offer a duck dish cooked with cider and spices. It has to be a duck that was smothered rather than bled. I poach it in a syrup, dry it and then roast it. I mix a Bordelaise sauce into the duck stock and, after pouring it through a strainer, thicken it with the livers, heart and lungs basted with cognac and wine flambé. Then I let the impurities separate very slowly. For Rouen duck, the legs are grilled, breaded and served over a small salad with truffle oil dressing.