“ Cooking has allowed me to express myself and communicate with the world, and I do not see myself doing another job. A refined cuisine which goes to the essentials. For that, you have to know the products : it’s the base! They have to be good and also seasonal. My clients learn to wait before tasting the seasonal products. We cannot have scallops in summer for example, but they will be in the spotlight in winter. It is this respect that is fundamental to making an authentic cuisine. Then, you have to make sure you are doing too much. A combination of up to three products is enough and you also need to scrupulously respect cooking to get a deep pairing that bring together tastes and textures. We constantly, my husband and I, seek for this simplicity that makes us different. We do not overbid or do in sophistication. Because authenticity is revealed with the essence of taste by avoiding too many mixtures. Only at this condition, the customer will remember what he has eaten. Otherwise, he is confused. It was very good, but I do not know what I ate! When the host remembers the dish he ate, for me, there is won!
I am very attached to my region of origin and to the Basque culture which has a strong identity. I draw my inspiration from it, even if all the flavors are revisited. When I was young, I wanted to learn my mother’s traditional cooking and then only I discovered gastronomy. The first dish I prepared, for example, is the famous sautéed rabbit she cooked so well; and I still propose it on my menu card today. The smells of this old time with a child’s sweet memories ! I still enjoy a poêlée de chiperons or a fried farm egg with ham, with its little piperade. Indeed, it is in childhood that one learns the authenticity and the sense of true values. And mine was a simple life, turned towards nature and its gifts, where the cuisine was a great moment of conviviality and sharing. This model of life, between effort and reward, I would like to inculcate in my own children too.
Caring about, and loving, what you do is an extremely important factor to consider when it comes to career choice and to do this job. If you love what you are doing, the customer will feel it automatically and your sincerity will touch him. Cooking is love, it’s a sharing; it is to please others, and to have fun at the same time. But there is also a lot of work behind and a personal investment to build an experience and to be in constant learning. A good cook is a passionate person who constantly tries to discover new associations that lead to different possibilities. We do not need to have a title to succeed in this business. The cook who has his little traditional restaurant and who makes good food with good products, he will succeed just as well as me. The signs are to be happy with what you do. If we are happy, if we work in joy, especially when we spend a lot of time in the kitchen, then our customers will have a good time. Respect is also that of our work, because we want to offer a break, a parenthesis in their lives where they will experience a sensory journey. That’s why, when we do an investigation of flavours, my husband and I, we keep simple and as close as possible to the product.
When I won the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the pressure was such that it took me four years to find my way and stay myself. I then chose to be discreet and live my life away from worldliness, to have a family balance and produce an authentic cuisine that is built daily, in a close relationship with customers, employees and local producers. I was so lucky to be able to compose four-handed cuisine with my husband Stéphane, who has always supported me. There is a real osmosis that takes place in the kitchen because man and woman are complementary in their ideas, their approaches and their sensitivity. He is more in the technique, the process and the visual design; and I am in the emotion and authenticity that is revealed in the end. It is thanks to all this that I continue this adventure by keeping my feet on the ground. And as my husband often says, we only do cooking; we do not save lives! It’s so true, not to make such a big fuss about it ! ”
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on November 29, 2017, in Paris
Link to the website of the gastronomic restaurant Les Rosiers
Read also the Portrait of Andrée Rosier