The right balance
SEBASTIENLutaud was recently appointed co-head chef at Sydney’s Felix restaurant. Best recent dining experience: L’atelier de Joel Robuchon in HongKong. I went to Robuchon’s Tokyo restaurant six years earlier and the dishes were the same. Consistency is one of the hardest things to achieve in a restaurant. Must-buy ingredient: Jerusalem artichokes — served raw in a salad, roasted with fresh herbs, boiled then pureed, or in a simple soup with poached eggs and croutons. It’s in season now. Most embarrassing pantry item: Two-minute noodles: cheap, fast and easy for a lazy Sunday dinner. Can’t live without: Espelette pepper. I put it on everything in place of black pepper. It’s fruity with a hint of spice. WhatI’m cooking at home: I hate cooking at home. I don’t have all the fancy equipment that I have at work, nor do I have the time. If I do cook, it is usually a simple pasta. Next big thing: Getting to know produce better. I think the relationship between consumer and farmer or producer will become stronger, perhaps to the point where you can ask your farmer to grow a rare product that, say, your grandparents used but today’s foodies have forgotten. I hate: Frozen peas should be illegal. The sweetness you get from fresh peas is amazing and I love to eat them raw. Favourite cuisine: Japanese. I love howthe seafood is respected and the flavours are never overpowering. Worst meal I ever ate: WhenI was 13, mybrother cooked my mumandI spaghetti meatballs for dinner. Heburnt the tomato sauce and the meatballs so badly that I can still remember that bitter, burnt taste. Surprisingly, he is a great cook now. Biggest culinary influence: Pascal Barbot. I worked with him for a year, and what he did with ingredients and flavour combinations blew meaway. It inspired meto use all kinds of ingredients and enabled meto balance flavours properly. Favourite cookbook: Larousse Gastronomique, a must-have for all chefs — it’s the bible of cookbooks. Mylast supper: Fresh sea urchins from the ocean off Hvar, Croatia. Heaven.