Born in Apinac, France, Pierre Gagnaire’s first pursuit into the culinary world was working at Paul Bocuse’s restaurant during his summer vacation in 1965. The experience had such an impact on a young Pierre who, enamored by the world of the culinary arts, enrolled in an apprenticeship at restaurant Juliette in Lyon in 1966. Two years later, he took his first role as a commis chef in restaurant Tante Alice, also in Lyon.
In 1975, after having spent two years travelling and working around the world, Pierre returned to his father’s one Michelin star restaurant, Le Clos Fleuri, in Saint-Étienne. After maintaining his father’s Michelin star, yet focusing on creating his own culinary style, Pierre opened his own restaurant in the center of Saint-Étienne in 1981, which received its first Michelin star in 1982 within a year of its opening, followed by a second star in 1986. After moving to a new restaurant, Art Déco, and being inspired by the host of visiting contemporary artists, Pierre was awarded his third Michelin star, for his out of the ordinary dishes and unique cuisine. After closing his restaurant in Saint-Étienne, Pierre began working at 2 Michelin star restaurant Balzac, which in 1998 was awarded a third star.
Since, Pierre has opened a number of restaurant concepts worldwide, including: Sketch, London; Gaya, Paris; Pierre Gagnaire, Tokyo; Pierre at Hotel Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong; Pierre Gagnaire, Seoul, Korea and Twist, Las Vegas. Among his numerous accolades, Pierre has achieved 13 Michelin stars, worldwide, and most recently, his restaurant Reflets was voted best restaurant in Dubai.
What is your culinary philosophy?
Honesty, sincerity and integrity. My cuisine is honest and sincere; it’s not a matter of creating a collage of things that I see and collect, it’s really a culinary story that I have been telling for many years.
Where do you find your culinary inspiration?
Through working. Either you have it or you don’t. My ability to put flavours together is a sixth sense.
How has your culinary passion changed over the years?
I have been cooking for many years now. At the start I was not passionate about the job, but I developed a passion for it when I understood that I could create emotions within people with my cuisine. That is the key.
If you could go to any restaurant in the world, where would you go?
- 13 Michelin stars, worldwide
- Pierre's recipes from FOUR USA 03.15
- Pierre's recipes from FOUR International 01.16
- Pierre's recipes from FOUR Middle East 01.16
Pictures © Cara Tompkins