"My love of cooking is something I inherited"


 - What made you want to become a head chef?

My love of cooking is something I inherited: my parents had a top quality restaurant and I took my first steps in the kitchen there.

- What is the first dish that struck a chord with you?
Sweetbreads filled with crawfish. I was 9 then and it was my first big meal in a great restaurant of the time: 'Eddy Van Maele'.
- Who has influenced you in your cooking style or philosophy?
Most especially, my father who was always looking into new products and techniques; then, Jean François Piège became my point of reference.
- Who inspires you? Where does your inspiration come from?
In the day-to-day; anything can inspire: suppliers, a meal in a friend's house, holidays, etc.
- What is your favourite cooking method?
None. Every product requires its own method to get the best out of it.

- What is your favourite ingredient?
- What is your favourite cooking utensil?
My knives.
- What materials do you prefer for your pans and saucepans?
Stainless steel.

- What would you like to change about the cooking schools? What advice would you give to young chefs?
More on-the-ground learning and real chefs' schedules: many graduates leave the profession within two years when they realise how demanding our trade is.
- What do you look for when you hire someone for your restaurant?
A CV means nothing. That they are passionate and motivated.
- How do you motivate your team?
Including them in the creative process every week. They present their new idea to me, whether they are the sous-chef or the kitchen help.

- What would you like to change in the catering world?
Political support which is frequently lacking at times of transition.
- How do you react to difficult or rude customers?
We do not react with anything other than silence; at worst, we will ask them to leave.
- What is your favourite place to relax?
Shopping in London.
- What drives your ambition?
My family's well-being and my smiling customers who are happy to be there.
- Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Fresh royal cod with truffle.
- What is your favourite restaurant?
Jean Francois Piège.
- Which current chef do you admire and why?
Jean Francois Piège.  He is my point of reference these days with his mix of modernism and tradition.
- If you could create your ideal cooking team, who would you choose?
All those who love cooking, those who are motivated by discovery.