Forty Years & Counting: Meet The Best Chef of France Who Earned Michelin Star, Love of Millions & Set Some Trends
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“To cook, you have to love people,” is the principle which Michelin Star Chef STÉPHANE GABORIEAU swears by; perhaps reason enough why his five-course meals taste still lingers on in our mouths.
Voted as the Best Chef of France, Stéphane Gaborieau is one of those personalities who is instantly likable. Entrepreneur India got into an exclusive conversation with the culinary expert when he was invited by 'All Things Nice', a wine and gastronomy experience platform in India for an exquisite dinner at Sofitel Mumbai BKC.
While most chefs stick to their expertise, Chef Stéphane decided to understand the Indian food palate. He presented the best of French cuisine but highly respected the Indian food codes. Talking about his experience in the country, he says, “The amiability of the Indians and their eagerness to always assist others is unique. India’s philosophy and culture is vastly different from that of France. I love spices and the colourful style of cuisine. You always gain valuable lessons from travelling. Experiencing new styles of cooking and cultures also helps you improve your style of cooking.”
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MAKING OF THE MICHELIN STAR
Being a chef was always the plan ever since Chef Stéphane’s grandparents showed him good produce and how to transform these ingredients into delicious food. He kick-started his career at the Michelin-starred Dodin-Bouffant in Paris. Soon he became chef de partie at several reputed places and worked with eminent people such as M George Paccard, Roger Pierre (Hotel du Palais), M Villier (Restaurant La Palm d’Or, Hotel Martinez, Cannes), to name a few. It’s almost been four decades and the chef has only seen food evolving. In 2004, he won ‘Best Chef of France’ (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) and started the Michelin Star restaurant Le Pergolèse in Paris.
Reminiscing the time, he recalls, “I opened my restaurant in 2005. It was an exciting experience and this is something I had always dreamed of — to be my boss and produce the cuisine I wanted to showcase. It has been a beautiful adventure and we are still here 15 years later.”
About 100 chefs in France have received this honour of Michelin Star of which 60 are still cooking and pleasing several taste buds. “This is a recognition from our masters like Paul Bocuse, Joël Robuchon, Pierre Orsi, to name some. The Best Chef of France title means to advise and convey your know-how in the most simple possible way. You are an envoy of France and French cuisine. I just want to make sure that I keep the tradition, respect, transmission and wisdom of our masters alive,” he explains.
2020 FOOD TRENDS
Chef Stéphane started his career 40 years ago and since then has seen major multinationals venture into the restaurant and food sector. “People have changed their ways of eating as they are coming back to the farm to table concept, using more organic products, less meat, and fish to protect future generations. People are going green.”
Talking about trends that will dominate this sector, he says, “We are coming back to local produce and traditional dishes where plates are less elaborate with a more refined style of cooking. Industrial produce or processed foods are becoming healthier and chefs are working with seasonal produce once again to give more importance to forgotten vegetables.”
The Michelin star chef also understands that the modern world and the changing hospitality industry demand a shift in the business model. Taking us through the path of running a successful business, he mentions, “We are rethinking our strategy at the moment. We have never advertised about the restaurant but nowadays you have to be present everywhere. We are thinking about innovative ways to be present on newer platforms — not all social media but the ones that make sense for us. We have to be more present in the virtual world as well as the press, but we want to keep things simple.”
MICHELIN STAR TAG: IMPORTANT OR NOT?
In a world where food is being transfigured every second, Chef Stéphane believes in staying connected with his traditions and that is the key to his success.
“Whether you have a Michelin Star tag or not, a chef has to be generous always. This is an achievement in a chef’s life but it isn’t everything,” he smiles.
He is also quick to point out, “It is extremely important to respect people, please your clientele and be honest in your way of cooking. You cannot hide behind subterfuges, you have to be authentic. I think I have managed to maintain my Michelin Star over the years because I always have the desire to please clients who enter our restaurant Le Pergolèse.”
Photo Credit: Entrepreneur India
(This article was first published in the October issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)