Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2000 and three Michelin star chef since 2007 at Pré Catelan in Paris, this year Frédéric Anton will take on the role of president of the French jury of S.Pellegrino Young Chef, and mentor of the future winner of the local competition. It is yet another challenge for this pillar of French gastronomy, who himself was trained amongst the greatest chefs of the country, such as Joël Robuchon.
With just a few weeks before the French finale, which will be held on 14 September at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, Frédéric Anton talks to us about his career and his desire to become a leader, and speaks of his former mentors with emotion.
Do you remember the moment in which you decided to become a chef? What inspired you? What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to make your dream come true?
I did not want to be a cook, but rather a cabinetmaker - I am very manual-oriented - but I found myself as a cook, and I realized that it was true manual work that required precision, where one can transform a raw material into a work of art. It was then that being a chef became a dream.
What was your greatest pride as a young chef?
My biggest pride was to have met many great chefs, like Joël Robuchon, and to have worked in the most prestigious restaurants in France.
As a mentor, what do you expect from the future young chef who will win the French finale? And what do you think that you can offer him/her?
I expect a young passionate chef, someone who knows how to express him or herself, who is convinced of his or her way of cooking and ideas. Who has the goal of winning the world finale. I will bring my technical experience, coaching, consistency and precision to the table so that he or she is as mentally "open" as possible.
In your opinion, what would it mean for a young chef to win the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition?
Taking first place at the S. Pellegrino Young Chef is the culmination of a project, and it allows France to be highlighted in an international competition.
What is your philosophy in the kitchen?
I am very attached to the products, to the transformation of materials, all while respecting flavours. A technicality that will offer consistency, which can define my cuisine.
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of French cuisine?
French cuisine is distinguished by the diversity of products on regional basis, seasonality, the bases of French cuisine and creativity.
What type of gastronomic offering excites you the most at the moment?
What is the future of French gastronomy?
I hope that in 50 years we can still eat chicken roasted on the spit.