Chef Pierre Gagnaire is present on every front. Far from resting on its laurels, the man voted Best Chef of the World early this year has just redefined the menu of his Paris' Fouquet restaurant. Before that, the three-star chef was busy in July with the opening of Peir, his new restaurant in Vaucluse and the organization of the Dîner des Grands Chefs, at the end of the national selection for the Bocuse d'Or. To continue on such a wonderful start to 2015, Pierre Gagnaire released a new book of recipes for cooking at home.
Fine Dining Lovers had the privilege of chatting with this pillar of French gastronomy, who agreed to update us on this eventful year.
Your book, La cuisine des 5 saisons de Pierre Gagnaire, was released on October 26th. The use of "simple" ingredients are a common thread. Why did you choose this angle?
I chose this angle due to pressure from my family (laughs). People have long been asking for a simple cookbook, but I had to wait for the right time to do it. And I think that the time has finally arrived, because my family is growing. I have children, grandchildren; everyone needs to eat, and they usually turns to me for this kind of thing. So in this book, I offer family-style cooking, without complicated methods or ingredients.
In July, you opened your new restaurant, Peir, in Gordes in Vaucluse. Why did you choose a restaurant in this region with only 20 seats?
Actually, I did not really choose it. It is the place that does. It's an extraordinary region, and the Bastide de Gordes (where the restaurant is located) is a magical place. It is a dream come true, and it is an incredible opportunity to be cooking there. As it only seats twenty, it's not very profitable, but it's magical!
You have 3 Michelin stars and 12 restaurants across the world. In early 2015, you earned the title of Best chef in the world. What would you like to accomplish in the future? Do you have any new upcoming projects?
For the moment I don't know. I take life as it comes. All I hope is that I will retain the desire to cook, to exchange with people for a long time to come, and hope that I will never be bored by this business. You've been in the kitchen for 50 years.
In your opinion, what were the most interesting gastronomic developments in your career, both in France and abroad?
Since I started, cooking has become globalized. Today, whether you are in France, Italy, Israel, Russia or the United States, there are talented chefs everywhere. With this, cooking has become more intelligent, more refined and subtle. Beyond national cuisine, today we have signatures kitchens. That's the big difference.
The French selection of the Bocuse d'Or has just ended. What do you think of the new generation of French chefs? Do you think that more experienced chefs should serve as mentors to younger ones?
Passing things on is the heart of life and our society. If things are no longer passed on, everything collapses. So yes, I think that everyone at our level has to play a role for future generations.
If you had to summarize your impressive career in one sentence, what would it be?
I was very lucky because I was surrounded by a lot of love.
Dal is one of those recipes that goes all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike dishes such as biryani, brought to India by the Moghuls, it is one of those foods that has always been there. It is therefore a building block of Indian culture.