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.
... 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