My Life in Fragrance

18 Dec 2014
2 min read
Anne-Sophie Pic, the three-Michelin-starred chef of Maison Pic in Valance and one-Michelin-starred Le Dame de Pic in Paris reveal how perfume inspire her

Myearliest memory of perfumewas my mother’s [perfume]and the scents of the kitchen, created by my father, that I could smell every day aswe lived above the restaurant [Maison Pic].

The nose is a powerful organ.Before you even savour a dish, you breathe, you smell, you feed your imagination with the scents and tastes that exude from the plate. You inhale the dish before tasting it. It is quite a natural gesture that I wanted to complete with the taste experience that is gourmet cuisine.

At Le Dame de Pic I wanted the client to smell perfumes before reading menus; to dream, to really try to choose their meal by calling on their memories with the odour, causing an emotion.

These fragrances [featured at Le Dame de Pic] created by Philippe Bousseton, perfumer at Takasago, transcribe the savours you then find in my dishes. Perfumes arise from our dialogue around my cuisine and they are presented to clients to enhance their gourmet experience, unlike gadgets and misconceptions. For me, perfume and cuisine have a lot to tell.

The collaboration with Philippe Bousseton of Takasago came about one day when we were introduced while I pondered my Parisian restaurant. We had so much in common that we enjoyed our encounter immediately. Philippe is a gourmet and I love perfumes! It’s a simple, successful, unusual relationship.

Individual dishes at my restaurant, Le Dame de Pic, are inspired by parfums. The Berlingot, for example, recalls the shape of the famous French candy. It became an iconic starter at Le Dame de Pic and was originally created in the menu ‘Undergrowth and Spices’: small pasta flavoured with matcha tea, stuffed with fresh and smoked goat cheese, flowing with mushrooms and tonka bean and pepper Voatsiperifery emulsion. This dish is a concentrate of undergrowth, roundness and moisture with soft and delicate acidity. It was present in the perfume by a touch of peat with a score of whiskey. This dish changes with perfumes over the seasons.

Personally, I like complex combinations in a scent that come successively in the mouth: four or five flavours that tell stories, take you far, far away. You can create new fragrances over and over; it is the blend that I build that makes sense to me.

When it comes to choosing a parfum for me, in the evening I love the fragrances that mix vanilla and tonka bean with wood, for its warmth.

If I could buy one parfum right now, it’d be a fragrance by Frederic Malle called French Lover or Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens; they are real creators and artists that perfectly master the know-how.

If I had to lose all but one sense and I could choose which I kept, it’d be taste, of course, because greed is a very nice sin

Le Dame de Pic, 20 Rue du Louvre, 75001 Paris, France

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