How has your native France inspired your cuisine?
I used to spend all my time with either with my dad in the garden or with my mum in the kitchen. We always used fresh ingredients, so fresh produce is still vital to me.
What ingredient most typifies your native Anjou and features in your cooking?
I love to use favourite local ingredients, especially artichokes, greengages and local goats’ cheese. Oysters are another favourite.
Which local wines go well with your culinary style?
Any local wine is fine by me – it’s all a case of individual taste. That’s also the beauty of having a broad menu, you can always find something that you fancy with a special wine to go with it.
Traditional or modern French cuisine? Why?
Traditional flavours and a modern approach. Skills and techniques have really evolved and we can achieve amazing classic flavours with new products and approaches to cuisine.
Back to my childhood experience of learning in the garden and the kitchen, I am a firm believer that what grows together goes together. Classic combinations such as lamb and rosemary are a perfect marriage, in my view better than any charred leeks and smoked sea urchin in Himalayan salt with coffee sauce!
How do you think French cuisine has evolved in recent years?
French cuisine is using new products, but with great respect. Also, the traditional heaviness has gone, replaced by something much lighter.
You have a battery of culinary awards under your toque. What is your next culinary goal?
I have always wanted to write about my recipes. Nothing new – simply to record some of the dishes I have created and developed over the last thirty years. I simply need the time to get on with this!
What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is that I am one of those people lucky enough to have turned my passion into my chosen career and daily job. I can always work with a smile.
How has UK cooking influenced your culinary style?
There are first class ingredients available in the UK and I have been able to use my traditional French skills with these ingredients, making the most of locally and seasonally available ingredients.
What is your favourite UK ingredient and how do you like to use it?
I love asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb and winter roots….
I like to serve these ingredients in a simple fashion when they are in full season. A beautiful berry tart is awesome. Grilled or steamed asparagus with hollandaise is a classic and fine combination.
If you had to choose your ultimate gastronomic delight, what would be your three chosen courses?
Keep everything simple….salt-baked heritage beetroot, crotins de chavignol (or similar), cobnut and sherry dressing….aged rib eye steak , hand cut chips, béarnaise sauce, mixed summer leaves from the UK and herb salad ….apple tarte tatin – you can’t beat a freshly made one!
For a more formal gastronomic menu, there are endless choices available in London. It depends on the company, my mood. I love the selection of world cuisine, whether it is French, Asian, South American etc