April 28, 2015
After checking-in, unpacking and getting a little rest, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chef Etienne before lunch at Jardins Plein Ciel, the rooftop terrace to discuss his passion and the inspirations that motivates him in and out of the kitchen. As I reached the terrace, I was so excited to discover the partnership Hotel Raphael and Lanson formed. Everyday became a Lanson day!!!! A wonderful chill was in the air as we set atop Hotel Raphael enjoying spectacular views of Paris while giant clouds intermittently allowed bursts of brilliant sun to warm the air as we began to converse. What a wonderful time to be in Paris!!!
Chef Etienne, first and foremost, thank you for taking time out to speak with me and to share your thoughts on and about your passion. I would like to start with the future.
EB: “Thank you for your interest and welcome to Hotel Raphael and to one of the most amazing views in Paris”
TM: Thank you. With respect to the art of distinguished cuisine, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
EB: “Abroad, to discover other culinary cultures, then coming back to France and distinguish myself by developing my own culinary identity”
TM: How do you integrate your creative and intellectual approach to cuisine with your palate and satisfying discerning guests?
EB: “I take inspiration from the other luxurious places I have worked in, with the same demanding clientele, so I can gauge the guest’s expectations. I take into consideration my personal satisfaction, my positive feeling about the cooking and tasting experience. Also, I care about the seasons, my wishes,…”
TM: If given the opportunity to set fire to cuisine side-by-side with anyone living or not, whom would it be and why?
EB: ” Philippe Mille, Chef of the “Crayères” in Reims (2 Michelin stars awarded in 2011 and 2012, elected MOF in 2011 : Meilleur Ouvrier de France) for his wide knowledge of the profession, his humility in all circumstances. I would also place Michel Roth at the same level for the same reasons”
TM: What’s your approach to making a dish a one of a kind experience and which ingredient or combination of ingredients you could not live without, should you have everything except this ingredient?
EB: “I simply think about seasoning. A pure sea salt mixed with pepper freshly crushed. Without this, the best piece of fish or meat is tasteless”
TM: What’s the one thing you wish all your guests would bring to the table and the one thing you wish your guests to take from the table?
EB: “I expect them to come for an experience. I expect them to leave with the feeling of a good time spent with their friends or family, an opportunity to share. I would like them to have culinary memories. That would mean that my mission is accomplished”
TM: With wine being such and integral part of a complete gastronomic experience, do share your favorite?
EB: “Burgundian Pinot Noir – Échezeaux”
TM: And last but not least your favorite dish or dishes?
EB: “I love dishes subtly cooked. Every noble product can be delicious and tasteful if it is finely prepared. The seasoning is essential. For fish, turbot with a shellfish sauce and tiny seasonal vegetables. Meat : pigeon stuffed with foie gras and olive tapenade, homemade French fries with meat jus.“
TM: Chef thank you so much for your time and for getting personal about your passion. It has truly been a pleasure meeting you and now I’m dying to experience your passion first hand.
EB: “Thank you for being here. Enjoy lunch and your stay.”
Now that I’ve worked up an incredible appetite, I await Chef Etienne’s subtly inspired, yet noble lunch. Ahhhh…….the Lanson has arrived!!!!
To make this insightful conversation with Chef Etienne and stunningly delicious lunch complete, was to be joined by the kitchen . These are the smiles and thank yous I live for!!!!
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