Pierre Van Oost

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"What makes me go on? The idea of sharing a little of what I have learned"

Fotografía de INTERVIEWS WITH OUR CHEFS

What made you want to become a chef?

Cooking with my mother and grandmother; sharing the cooking with my family.

What is your first memory of a dish that made you dream?

A dish that my maternal grandmother always made me when she came back home: Homemade ham in its skin with parsley-infused potato purée.

Who has influenced you in your cooking style or philosophy?

My mother, grandmother and homemade food, always.

To give you an idea, in Spanish terms that would make me more of a Santi Santamaria than a Ferran Adriá.

What inspires you? or Where does your inspiration come from?

Let me quote Albert Einstein: 'Imagination is more important than knowledge'.

That doesn't mean knowledge and studies aren't important, just the opposite! One always learns, but you either have imagination or you don't.

What is your favourite culinary method or technique?

Roasting.

What is your favourite ingredient?

Fish and, as a condiment, cardamom.

What is your favourite cooking utensil?

A knife, of course!

What material do you prefer for your pans and saucepans?

Stainless steel.

What would you like to change about the cooking schools?

Many things, among them: more intensive study into the natural local produce from each region.

Your advice for young chefs.

Keep enquiring and never stop learning.

What do you look for when you hire someone for your restaurant?

Responsibility and 'good vibrations'.

How do you motivate your team?

Simple: leading by example!

What would you like to change in the catering industry?

About the same answer as for the schools: respect for the products, for their origin, etc.

What do you do when you have difficult guests?

You need to know how to see somebody for what they are...

It takes all types to make a world!

What is your favourite way to relax?

Friends!

Family is what it is...

What pushes you to keep on going?

What makes me go on? The idea of sharing a little of what I've learned.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?

None, especially. I tend to think more of the products I use to make my recipes. Right now, I'm working a lot on the 'Cocina Nova Boliviana', using produce from the Andes and the Amazon region.

What is your favourite restaurant?

There are several and not necessarily run by well-known chefs.

Which current chef do you most admire and why?

I like Robuchon and Gagnaire, amongst others, but I'm not obsessed with any single one. I like several cooks who are enthusiastic in their work and not 'superstars'!"

How do you think restaurants should be classified?

By basic quality standards (hygiene, cleanliness, safety and service, and customer service), nothing else.

Each of us has our own likes and tastes.