Often there is a strong magnetic feeling attracting and pulling one towards a blank page so for his wording to be applied , for his “plume” to be sliding on this “virgin sheet” leaving behind its ink marking his deepest and inner thoughts of admiration for this world and industry that is hospitality and its purpose , its food , its dedicated truthful and giving people , its numerous odours , flavours which when all in harmony are making our mind rushing faster than any busy service , although not always an easy task , nevertheless rewarding enough by the various exchanges coming from all possible directions. So, not to mention the usual “I hereby say a big thanks to you , you , you and you and bow with my all upper body for being a part of it but also endeavour and look for its evolution as its dynamic shakes our habits, cultures and ways of life continuously” I will simply leave it up for you to guess how my feelings are for my work and the ones surrounding me….
Inspiration is not only obtained by looking at windows or shelves displaying new items we constantly try to source nor magazine or via social media platforms but also through escapes in the country side, on a local bus for example, watching a young boy pulling out of his backpack his favourite treat taken from home, carefully unwrapping it from this tin foil that has kept it altogether so for to let you discover this delicate and crumbling”Corne de Gazelles” that places this most wonderful ear to ear smile on his jolly face. This same Corne de Gazelle will make you smell the cinnamon bark, caress the orange flower and feel the light sugar melting on your tongue getting you within instants to places you would that same morning, never have imagined to be existent , the then foil is taking you back to the kitchen, bending in front of the oven, lifting this shiny sheet for yo to discover below the juices and “sucs” of this golden brown and succulent leg of milk-fed lamb surrounded by melting carrots and onions, aromatised with the fresh thyme and laurel leafs. Music may also help your mind relax and free, allowing constant flow of ideas, on a rainy day for one and some other times on a lovely sunny end of afternoon, when the skies brushes the earth , turning orange and warm , looking so close you want to touch its array of colours , slowly changing our days into nights. The warmth of the fire in the great outdoor may then be felt , a cosy drink and the crisp and lightly burned taste of the flesh of this gently roasted rabbit , brushed with the help of a stalk of rosemary with a mixture of Olive Oil and Mustard , would that be enough for sources of inspiration ?
It is also of course in others chefs work that I am finding inspiration , the modest and the greats , mens and womans , making alway sure they are of diverse origin as possible so for the exchange to be even more interesting , rich and in a non lucrative way as is the palette of colours found in spices , with the variations of recipes and diverse methods used , all entering into one simple equation.
Let me please take you this way if you don’t mind , just imagine the joy when opening a “Little Munster”brought back from my twice a year trip to my hometown , a local beer or even a dish cooked by my mother , this same person that have had my”gouter” ready for the mid afternoon tea while I was swimming intensively when I was just a boy at a picnic on the shores of a lake or in one of the numerous forest of the northern Alsace region when visiting my grandma for example. These tea’s , made sometimes from two biscuits sandwiched with chocolate cream or other times a warm still “tarte aux mirabelles” , sticky , with its pointy tips all caramelised as if caressed by the flames from atop , are the basis and forms the foundations of what I am today, well, amongst many other things. Imagine the cheer pleasure going through my mind , the feeling of accomplishment having brought a few bottles of wine carefully picked and selected along the wine route on a hot summer day , all arranged in my cool box , carefully protected with blocks of ice as if to give them longevity but also to provide me with the illusion of having them ready chilled so for to open and sip along my homemade baguette sandwich , layered with young lettuce and “Jambon a l’Os” , mustard and slices of cute pickled gherkins , at any given time , on the road side on my way back to the coast so for to take a ferry that will once more help me cross the Channel and disembark on a British port and return to my London life
I simply can never endeavour enough for this moment to arrive , again and again …
It is to me as if the food eaten under such “condition” if I may say , would have what you would call the placebo effect on me, bringing along comfort and memories , the feeling of having never left home …. By this I might very well sound as If I had gone away for too long but as a reward, along with the wine, the home-made food and a few local sausages , there would not be one trip I would do without carrying a creme dessert “Mont Blanc” in my luggage , I know , bad habits die-hard!
There are no specific timing for inspiration , it comes and goes , just like the seasons , in a light pattern , the afternoon rain shower …..but as I pretty much enjoy sharing my thoughts with you , not only I find it “therapeutic” in the sense that it provides me with much pleasure , it also is an exercise , a challenge I have taken on in a very organic and healthy way , made of patience , as if one was to be watching grow his crop, watering it , pruning and caring for its wellbeing , all the way from the seeding thus until harvesting then comes the turn to the gentle poaching , rapid frying and the delicately plating, so for to appreciate a great meal. One must understand not only the functionality of this meal but also its course , the process and efforts not only the chef has provided so for the asparagus to be showing a little bite , although melting and revealing it’s earthiness but also the shine given by adoringly brushing its tips with demi-sel melted butter , giving the perfect taste just so to make you feel and say mmmmmmm , biting through it as if having the greatest pleasure given to us.
I hope by this, not only having nourished any of you with perhaps ideas of the simplicity with which I see the birth of a meal but by perhaps also having convinced anyone that the greatest outcome is often obtained when this same simplicity is applied to the creation of a recipe.