Pet hate in the kitchen?
My pet hate in my kitchen is lack of respect. My team all have respect of the produce, of the season, of their equipment, and respect of their colleagues. Having a positive attitude is very important to building a strong team.
Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
My cuisine is a mix between French DNA and worldly influences using the local produce of the season.
What’s your biggest regret?
So far, I don’t have any regrets. I always learn from any negative situation and see it as a positive.
Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
My first knife that my parents bought me for hospitality school. I still have it and it is very important to me to this day.
Most overrated food?
Spices. My mother never cooked with spices, so I never grew up using them. I think it changes too much of the real flavour of the food.
Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Very simply: my friends and family. Nothing is more important to share my passion with them and to take some quality time with your loved ones.
What’s your earliest food memory?
A roasted chicken filled with garlic bread and butter, served with mushed potatoes. My mother used to cook this dish on a Sunday, like many families in France. My brother and I used to create a hole in the potatoes to pour the juice of the chicken inside. And I remember we used to fight to have the fillet of the chicken because it was the best part! I treasure those family moments more than the food itself.
Tipple of choice?
Wine of course. I find it fascinating to learn about all the different regions.
Favourite food and drink pairing (the more obscure, the better)?
Last year I created a dish around WILD BOAR broth, mushrooms, chestnut and tajette. Our Head Sommelier had chosen a very interesting Sherry wine, a Sherry Oloroso Catilla Antique. It was amazing because we played between the autumnal character of the wine to highlight the mushrooms and the meaty dimension of the dish. Most of the guests were not sure at first but by the end of the last spoon, all of them adopted the pairing.
What is the worst meal you’ve cooked at home?
I was young and I had just started at hospitality school. I tried to cook Eggs Benedict and I overcooked the egg yolk so it became scrambled eggs instead of Benedict ones. A disaster!
Where will be your first meal out post lockdown?
We absolutely want to support our independent friends after this crisis. I will visit Caractère again as soon as I am able to!
How are you keeping busy?
Our two-year-old son needs a lot of our time, so it is easy to keep busy. I also work and create dishes and take care of our house by cleaning and refurbishing.
Houseparty or Zoom?
I use Zoom a lot to stay in touch with my team to work on new recipes and different techniques each week. Zoom is the best place to virtually meet and see all my team’s faces!
What boxset are you watching?
We have subscribed to Netflix at home during the lockdown. The last series we started is Ozark, I love it!
What’s the one ingredient you always have in your kitchen at home?
I always have a good bottle of olive oil in my kitchen. It stems from my heritage in the French Riviera where you will find the best olive oil you could ever experience! I rarely cook with butter; I am definitely an olive oil person.
What one ingredient would you stockpile?
Olive oil, of course!