Meet a glo­be­trot­ting chef

Caterer Middle East - - Brand View -

Hav­ing left France 24 years ago, work­ing in 14 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, Martin Bec­quart is in com­mand of a con­sid­er­able quest­ing and glo­be­trot­ting spirit. The renowned French chef is cur­rently based in Dubai, where he has been work­ing as ex­ec­u­tive chef at Möven­pick JBR for al­most two years. Why did you choose to be­come a chef?

I am lucky to have been born to a mother who cooks very well. She makes her own bread, duck liver, and ter­rine, pas­tries among other things. She used to take my recipe books and pre­pare the dishes therein. She doesn’t cook pro­fes­sion­ally, but she can make ev­ery­thing she wants, and at a very high qual­ity, too. She’s the per­son who first taught me to ap­pre­ci­ate taste.

I am from the coun­try­side and sea­side and so I had ac­cess to fresh eggs and veg­eta­bles from the farm, as well as most herbs and fruits from the gar­den, in­clud­ing ap­ples, pears, red cur­rant, wild straw­ber­ries, and rasp­ber­ries. Even­tu­ally, I de­vel­oped a pas­sion that was for­malised when I started study­ing at a ho­tel man­age­ment school in Amiens, France. When I grad­u­ated, I worked at Miche­lin star rated restau­rants. Very quickly I de­cided to go for in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence and trav­els. It is now 24 years later and I have trav­eled and worked in 14 coun­tries, from South Amer­ica, to the Caribbean, USA, Europe, Asia, and the Mid­dle East. I have been based in Dubai for al­most two years, work­ing at Möven­pick JBR as ex­ec­u­tive chef.

Did your trav­els some­how in­spire your recipes?

Yes, ob­vi­ously. As you travel around, you try the lo­cal cui­sine, and you walk in the mar­kets and dis­cover lo­cal prod­ucts. I am also in­flu­enced by the Miche­lin star chefs I have had the op­por­tu­nity to or­gan­ise sev­eral week pro­mo­tions in Hong Kong, Ma­cau, and Viet­nam with Paul Bo­cuse, Regis Mar­con, Wil­liam Fra­chot, and Michel Por­tos to name just a few of them.

What is your sig­na­ture cui­sine?

I love Mediter­ranean cui­sine, but I am also Mini a big tropèzi­enne fan of tarts the South East Asian cuisines of Thai­land, Viet­nam, Indonesia and China. I was born in Laos and grew up in France, and this is mainly why I am at­tracted to both Mediter­ranean and Asian cuisines. I feel very close to Asian cul­ture and peo­ple.

How im­por tant are in­gre­di­ents to your cui­sine?

Very im­por­tant. Dif­fer­ent fac­tors have to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion, of course, but there is never a com­pro­mise on qual­ity. We can­not pre­pare good food with­out qual­ity prod­ucts. We are chefs, not ma­gi­cians; if a prod­uct is in bad qual­ity, maybe we can im­prove it, but we can­not trans­form it al­to­gether. That is why qual­ity is my first cri­te­rion.

How about dair y prod­ucts?

These too are ex­tremely im­por­tant. Con­sid­er­ing that I work with in­ter­na­tional cui­sine, dairy prod­ucts com­prise 70% of the in­gre­di­ents I use in my recipes; specif­i­cally but­ter and cream.

When we make pas­try, for ex­am­ple, we must use pre­mium-qual­ity but­ter and cream in or­der to pre­pare puff pas­try, Chan­tilly cream, foam, and creamy dessert, plus many more.

To you, what is a high-qual­ity cream prod­uct?

To me a qual­ity cream is a cream with a good fat con­tent. The ori­gin is also very im­por­tant; it has to come from France, where high qual­ity is guar­an­teed, owing to the milk and how the cows are fed.

What does a break­fast cheese plat­ter look like at your ho­tel?

I serve mainly brie, goat cheese, Gouda, Edam, sliced cheeses, Feta, Em­men­tal, Ched­dar. These are the com­monly ex­pected cheese types on my break­fast buf­fet, as I be­lieve most of our guests are not yet pre­pared for stronger cheese. For brunch and Chef ’s Ta­ble we use dif­fer­ent cheese fam­i­lies and dif­fer­ent qual­ity.

What ad­vice would you give as­pir­ing chefs?

You must work very hard. It’s not as easy as it ap­pears on TV pro­grams, such as Top Chef. To be a good chef, you need any­thing be­tween a min­i­mum of 12 and 15 years above of prac­tice be­fore reach­ing suf­fi­cient se­nior­ity and ex­per­tise; this process can’t be rushed through! You keep learn­ing ev­ery day in kitchen! The learn­ing process is long and hard, but it is per­fectly wor­thy of the time and ef­fort that goes into it. You need to em­brace dis­ci­pline. This is the key to suc­cess.

Scal­lops with sea­sonal veg­eta­bles, black ink crisp, Noilly Prat foam

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