Michel: I am the son of a blacksmith and was introduced to cuisine when I was a tiny boy by my mother who did the cooking in her inn in Laguiole. Even today I can still remember the slices of bread and butter with milk skin and powdered chocolate that were waiting for me when I got home from school, the hot fouace loaves handed out after Armistice Day mass, the squares of dark chocolate cut into four, the soup into which my mother dipped crusts of bread – these are memories of the events that marked my childhood.And I spontaneously felt the need to translate these childhood emotions into my cuisine. While I draw inspiration from my childhood and from my native land, I am also a child of my times. I am self taught and I acquired my culinary techniques through a scientific approach. This perspective on nature lets me cast a fresh eye on the countryside around me, an area I have observed and contemplated with increasing interest over the years. Sébastien: At the age when you’re making your own Laguiole knives out of hazelnut twigs, I was already dreaming of cooking. I inherited that particular trait from my father. Like him, I want my cuisine to pay tribute to L’Aubrac, a part of the country I could not dream of living without. Our cuisine is driven by inspiration and, when we’re creating something, excitement is more important than technique.When I was tiny my father would take me to the market at Rodez. That’s how he taught me about produce and created in me a love for it. I learnt from him how to respect its identity, to really look at it, touch it and smell it, to immerse myself in it to be able to understand it. Our recipes are a reflection of the experiences we have had. I share with my father that taste for those ‘little nothings’ which bring to mind childhood innocence; nibbling a clover flower, delighting in some bread and butter with milk skin, eating with your fingers, taking risks, forgetting everything you’ve ever learnt!
Golden lentils have a distinctive sweetness, a mellow quality that comes out best when they are combined with certain white meats. They are very mild and supple, and go perfectly with poultry. I also like to combine them with ginger and celery. We serve them cold with a meat sauce or a vinaigrette made with oil infused with flowers from the Aubrac plateau.
The production of Saint Flour golden lentils was relaunched on a large scale in the mid-1990s. My father, Michel Bras, was asked to try them and he liked them right away. To this day, we buy our lentils from Serge Ramadier, a very dynamic producer who is also president of the golden lentil growers association.