Fete de la gastronomie
As a partner for the Fête de la Gastronomie, I was able to sit down for an interview with Anne-Sophie Pic, the Michelin-star chef and godmother of this event. Below Anne-Sophie Pic lets us in on her thoughts on the keys to success to a restaurant
What is your definition of the French art of welcoming? In what way is French gastronomy related to this art of welcoming? How do you reinterpret it?
I associate the word ‘gastronomy’ to pleasure and to taste. I was lucky to be born to a family where we ate out of pleasure. I have numerous memories of being moved by family dinner where everything was an excuse to discover new sensations and flavors. It’s this emotion that I try to conjure up in my cuisine and give to my guests. A meal in my restaurant has to be a unique and magical moment that exists outside of time. I love the notion that a meal is ephemeral in a society that is at times a bit too focused on possession. From his experience at a restaurant, the guest only comes away with memories. My career consists of making it so that the memories are unforgettable, that they constitute a moment of infinity. This responsibility is at once incredible and terrifying at the same time!
But it’s a responsibility shared by a team, and that’s what wonderful about my profession…it’s above all the complementarity between the team in the kitchen and the team in the dining room. In the dining room, the teams are in direct contact with the clients, they’re the veritable ambassadors of the chef operating in the kitchen. The quality of the client relation that takes place from the very reception actually takes part in the full experience. The client has to feel unique. Beyond these human qualities, the personnel in the dining room also have to have a very strong knowledge of the products and the chef’s kitchen in order to be able to talk intelligently. This pedagogical effort is essential for me because it participates in the understanding of my culinary intention. Beyond the emotion that I seek to create, it’s in some ways my vision of the world that I’m offering for others to see. It’s the reason why, in my gourmet restaurant, I put forth a menu in the form of explanatory documents. Each file tells the story of a dish, from the idea to the realization, explaining why I associated this flavor with that, what I wanted to express through each dish. The guest, of course, is free to read these files at the time he chooses his menu, at the time he is tasting his dish, or at the end of the meal. I leave it to him to determine the use that he wants to create of them.
The art of welcoming also transpires through the relationship between the container and the content. The design involved in the tableware is a key element in the realized experience… The service that I use in my gourmet restaurant was designed by C+B Lefèbvre et Raynaud. For instance, they created a lightly elevated dish to emphasize the role of smell in the tasting experience.
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.