‘I love the smells in the kitchen’

Jean-jacques Tran­chant, master chef at Le Cor­don Bleu Paris, talks about his sweet tooth and more

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Aye­sha Ban­er­jee

For any­one who loves to sink his or her teeth into a creamy, fluffy pas­try, the visit to Le Cor­don Blue Paris can be a de­li­cious treat. It gets bet­ter still when you watch ‘the king of mac­a­roons’ and master chef Jean-Jacques Tran­chant, at work. He is se­ri­ous, fo­cussed, whip­ping up the egg yolks with an in­ten­sity artists re­serve for cre­at­ing a mas­ter­piece. The man who has trained with fa­mous master chefs such as Emile Tabour­diau in cui­sine, or Jean Paul Hévin for choco­lates, has worked with Fou­quet’s at the Champs Elysées, renowned for its in­ter­na­tional show busi­ness clien­tele. His stint at the two Miche­lin-starred restau­rant, Ho­tel Nikko, had him work­ing with the fa­mous chef Joël Robu­chon.

“The smells” in his vil­lage “where fam­i­lies were bak­ing cakes” and in the kitchen at home where his mother and grand­mother cooked, en­ticed him. Poitou Char­entes, the re­gion where his vil­lage, Bonnes, is lo­cated, is known for its ex­cel­lent but­ter, melon, goat cheese and Cognac. Since his vil­lage was “too small where it was im­pos­si­ble to learn cook­ing,” chef Tran­chant had to go to the town of Poitiers, lo­cated 25 km away, to study. Cook­ing tech­niques were fas­ci­nat­ing. “It can be­gin from mak­ing very sim­ple fruit tarts us­ing all the sea­sonal and mul­ti­ple fruits that France of­fers, to pas­tries such as crois­sants and brioches to very so­phis­ti­cated wed­ding cakes,” he says. The first batch of cakes he baked at school was the high­light of his train­ing. His teacher also pushed him to read books of fa­mous chefs such as MarieAn­tonin Carême, known as ‘the king of the cooks and the cook of the kings’, and also Au­guste Es­coffier, who was con­sid­ered one of the most tal­ented clas­si­cal French chefs ever. Both were re­spon­si­ble for the cod­i­fi­ca­tion of the French culi­nary art.

Of course, he has a sweet tooth: “this is nec­es­sary to be a pas­try chef. I en­joy rein­vent­ing flavours and adapt­ing them to clas­sic recipes such as the éclair. I’ve made an éclair baked with crum­ble on top, filled with Matcha tea mousse (Ja­panese pow­dered green tea) and glazed with pas­sion fruit. I cre­ate flavoured mac­a­roons with thyme, basil and green lemon, pas­sion fruit and choco­late. Food is a crit­i­cal part of life. Meals were, and still are, the op­por­tu­nity to spend time with fam­ily or friends. They also give you the chance to talk to peo­ple. ‘Con­vivi­al­ity’ is a very im­por­tant con­cept in the French art de vivre in ev­ery lev­els of the French so­ci­ety. Ta­ble is ‘sa­cred’,” says Tran­chant.

For more in­for­ma­tion, check lcb­paris.com or write to the ad­mis­sions de­part­ment at parisad­mis­sions@cor­don­bleu.edit

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