The In­spi­ra­tion

The in­ven­tive French chef, who has spent more than 20 years in Asia, shares her pas­sion for her home coun­try and her gourmet way of life.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Contents - BY NATHALIE AR­BE­FEUILLE

... REVEL IN THE PER­FECT PARISIAN DREAM? My favourite place in France is Pays Basque in Biar­ritz, at the bor­der of Spain, where the moun­tains meet the sea. You can choose be­tween the two, and if that doesn’t quite fit the bill, take a drive to the pe­tite city of San Se­bastián. There’s so much to dis­cover here, from Art Nou­veau build­ings and sandy beaches to cul­tural fes­ti­vals and Miche­lin din­ing.

... RECOG­NISE THE POWER OF FE­MALE CHEFS REIN­VENT­ING THE GLOBAL CULI­NARY SCENE? My friend Anne-So­phie Pic is a tal­ented three Miche­lin-starred chef in France. I’m amazed at her knowl­edge of in­ter­est­ing flavour pair­ings, es­pe­cially in her project of per­fect­ing flavoured dashis that give our main meats flo­ral or woody fra­grances. She trav­els a lot to dis­cover new tech­niques, and she’s crazy about cit­rus at the mo­ment. She’s gone from Cor­sica to Ja­pan, just to un­der­stand the flavour pro­file of cit­rus fruits.

... REM­I­NISCE ABOUT HEART­WARM­ING MO­MENTS FOR IN­SPI­RA­TION? Both of my grand­moth­ers were re­ally good cooks, and their recipes are an in­spi­ra­tion to what I make. Grow­ing up, I loved eat­ing stuffed Savoy cab­bage with veal, pork, and parma ham, cooked slowly in the oven, as well as clas­sic French desserts such as beignets and café lié­geois.

... EX­PER­I­MENT WITH A DIF­FER­ENT VO­CAB­U­LARY? My most re­cent pop-up project, Whimsy, was a multi-sen­sory din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and the high­light of my year. I got to dis­cover more molec­u­lar tech­niques while hav­ing fun. Nathalie Gourmet Stu­dio 2.0 just re­opened late last month, and we’ve got a new space adorned with pic­tures of Paris from young pho­tog­ra­pher Adrela­nine, as well as a stun­ning new menu.

... DIS­COVER THE TRUE IN­GRE­DI­ENT OF STAY­ING REL­E­VANT? Hav­ing a cu­ri­ous spirit is the most es­sen­tial trait in be­ing a chef. Once you re­move your­self of com­pet­i­tive­ness, you re­alise that you can learn some­thing new by know­ing what’s hap­pen­ing around you. Cook­ing is all about shar­ing, trav­el­ling, and dis­cov­er­ing. It truly is an artis­tic work. www.nathaliegourmet.com J

Nathalie Ar­be­feuille, chef and owner of Nathalie Gourmet Stu­dio

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