Phnom appetit! Michelin starred cuisine hits capital

Phnom appetit! Michelin starred cuisine hits capital

121023_17
Ooh la la: 'Un-molecular' French chef Stephane Carrade prepares food at the Sofitel's Do Forni restaurant. Photograph: Alex Crook/Phnom Penh Post

As a five-year-old experimenting in his mother’s kitchen in the south of France, Stephane Carrade decided he wanted to be a chef.

Four decades and two Michelin stars later, Carrade is famed in France for a spontaneous style of cooking that is simple but sophisticated.

This week, he will showcase signature dishes from La Gueriniere, his restaurant near Bordeaux, at the Sofitel.

In the past, your style has been described as “un-molecular” – can you explain that?

I am not a fan of “molecular” cuisine. Every cuisine is molecular: food comes from molecules. This term “molecular” – sometimes chefs use products that are not really natural to produce some kind of effects, like a certain texture.

So will you place a stress on natural and local products while you’re here?

Well, I’m going to make French cuisine, so I’ll be using French products. But the vegetables are very good here from the markets: ginger and lemongrass, for instance.

What can we expect from your cooking classes?

I want to show a few tips and tricks. Especially slow cooking – people tend to cook everything very fast now. We will use cuttlefish in the class, and for this slow cooking is very important. We will also teach  techniques from the south of France.

You’ve worked in Asia before, in Ho Chi Minh City.  What did you pick up from Vietnamese cooking?

I learned a lot about how they use vegetables, techniques I was able to bring back and now use daily at my restaurant. They eat fruit with salty things, and raw things with cooked things. For example,  papaya salad – the French did not really know it.

We had a lot of sweet and salty mix but the French were not really a fan of this – fruity and salty together is much more appreciated by the French.

You have a reputation for taking an inventive approach to the dining experience. Where does that come from?

When I was working at Chez Ruffet [his restaurant in the town of Pau, in the Pyrenees] I was writing the menu on black stones so the guests had the opportunity to draw something, write a poem, a comment or even a love declaration.

Some slate stones from the ceiling fell down, so I cleaned them to use. Now, in many restaurants in France you can see black stones. A marriage proposal was once written in my
restaurant.

Was the answer yes?

Yes. Though they did divorce – everyone is divorcing in France now, so that is not unusual.

How do you justify the hefty price of haute cuisine?

You can make very good food without expensive products. But people are looking more and more for rare products, so of course there is a price attached to it. For example, talbot fish is better than sea bass, but it’s more expensive.

Do you have any plans to open a restaurant in Asia?

No, but why not? I’m still young!

Dishes by Stephane will be available at Do Forni restaurant at the Sofitel from October 23 to 27. Dinner from $60 per person.

He will also host a cooking class on Sunday for $30 per person.

To contact the reporter on this story: Poppy McPherson at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release