The man behind the menus at Le Meurice
May 31, 2022
Tell us about your respect for nature
I was born in Paris but I grew up in the countryside in Compiègne. It’s a very picturesque region of France, surrounded by nature and wonderful forest walks. Learning to appreciate the countryside from an early age has given me a real respect for the environment, and I think this gives me a sense of integrity when selecting the right produce for Le Meurice.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
My cooking style is French, modern, seasonal and focused on produce with respectful sourcing.
At Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse, my cooking is natural and pure, really focussing on the ingredients themselves. At Restaurant Le Dalí the relaxed atmosphere is complemented by a short menu and every dish is cooked with excellence in mind.
Do you have a signature dish?
For me that’s for our guests to decide but I can suggest a few favourites. At Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse, I recommend the barely cooked sea bream, which comes from Noir-Moutier and is so delicate that it’s best enjoyed rare. At Restaurant Le Dalí, I recommend the pigeon from Flanders. We cook it on the barbecue, which really makes the most of this delicate meat.
What is your culinary philisophy?
I want to support the growers, breeders and fishermen who work tirelessly each day to supply the finest ingredients, in a way that respects the environment and offers our guests a real moment of gastronomy. I love meeting artisans who are as passionate about what they do as I am. I care about seasonality, quality, discovering different ingredients and celebrating fresh produce. I also like to follow my instincts rather than set recipes.
Why are you so passionate about local produce?
I love to get to know and build up a great rapport with my suppliers. It’s easier when they are nearby and it’s also vital to the environment that we work in this sustainable way, reducing food miles wherever possible. I value being able to trace ingredients back to the supplier. It gives me a better understanding of the ingredients and its something interesting I can share with my team and our guests. It’s a real privilege to cook with such ingredients and it’s my duty to honour their provenance through my cuisine.
How important are herbs in your cuisine?
Fresh herbs and flowers play an important role in my cooking. The idea is to translate the season on a plate. Spring and summer are very colourful seasons but each season has its joys and influences my cooking in different ways. In autumn and winter I’m inspired by different vegetables, including parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and swede. I also like to use roasted seeds during the colder months.
What’s your favourite ingredient?
That would have to be olive oil because it’s so versatile, delicious and something I use every day. I particularly love the olive oil produced by Xavier Alazard. His family-run company has been farming for generations in Fourques, near Arles, in the Baux de Provence valley. He favours a manual harvest, believing this is better for the environment and produces a higher quality oil, with a really rich and aromatic palette.
What’s the best thing about your role?
After the last service of the evening, I like to wander into the restaurant to ensure that all our diners are happy. When I see guests smiling and enjoying my food it’s really rewarding. We know that all our effort has been appreciated and that’s what it’s all about.
What’s your guilty food pleasure?
I love visiting a good deli and choosing a selection of smoky yet not too salty charcuterie. When you find this perfect balance it’s irresistible. A wonderful example of this is Maison Duler’s Domaine de Saint-Géry bacon from Gascony – truly delicious.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
I like to cooking simple yet sociable dishes, which be easily be shared with friends and family. A roast chicken or an entire seabream is always well received. I also really adore tender, slow-cooked lamb dishes. When I prepare food, I’m always inspired by thinking about the people who will sit down and enjoy it. Other people’s enjoyment is really important to me.
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