FOURty Seconds with Nicolas Magie

23 Aug 2016
2 min read
Nicolas Magie talks to FOUR about the juxtaposition of his contemporary and modern Michelin-starred cuisine at Relais & Châteaux Le Saint-James, Bordeaux.

What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?

I am in the 4thgeneration of cooks in my family and my daughter will begin hotel school in September. You may say that I was simply “born in a pan”.

What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?

I am inspired by the soil, high quality producers, sharing and friendship, and the desire to please.

Describe your culinary style…

It is traditional cooking which has been reinterpreted into a contemporary style.

What would you say is the main focus/concept for the restaurant at Le Saint-James?

There is no real concept; we are more focused on the emotion that is conveyed through the cooking and a relaxed atmosphere. We focus on a pleasant and welcoming service so that our customers feel at home in an extraordinary place overlooking the city of Bordeaux.

What do you think has made the restaurant/menu so successful?

I think that the success of our restaurant is down to having such a passionate team. Without this, success would not be as easy to reach.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

My most indispensable ingredients come from the soil. However, also indispensible are all of the people with whom I work during the year (the breeders, the farmers, the cheese makers) who set the tone of our menu according to the seasons.

What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at your restaurant?

The experience which we want to give to our customers is to provide incredible food by enhancing the produce without distorting it. We want the customer to say “this is the best sole or lobster that I have eaten in my life”. We base the experience on simplicity, high quality products, beautiful cooking, love and the know-how.

What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?

The opening of my own restaurant, La Cape, in 1999, then my arrival to Le Saint-James in 2012.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?

I’m rather proud of my route into cooking. I began with a cooking apprenticeship and continued in large kitchens to acquire techniques and a know-how which allowed me to arrive where I am today. The advice which I would have given my younger self is to take notes, take notes and take more notes.

What’s next for you/what projects do you have lined up?

My main aim is to continue to work with the team at Le Saint-James to ensure the happiness of all of our customers.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Working in a busy restaurant it is rare to get a moment to myself. I therefore like to get up very early in the morning so that I can prepare my fish alone, in silence.

What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?

Michel Troisgros in Roanne (Loire), France.

Find out more aboutLe Saint-James ans Chef Magie’s culinary career