Stars and Iconic Chefs: Pierre Gagnaire

Stars and Iconic Chefs: Pierre Gagnaire

Amazing. Confusing. Bold. Masterful! If the adjectives sometimes lack force to capture all the originality of Pierre Gagnaire’s cuisine, it is because the Chef, elected by his peers “the greatest starred chef in the world” in 2015, composes his dishes like so many enchantments. . Pierre Gagnaire’s cuisine is indeed a party orchestrated to amaze the taste and the senses of unsuspected aromas and flavors!

It was the instinct of this extraordinary Chef that led him to go beyond the conventions of traditional French cuisine to better introduce surprising juxtapositions of flavors, textures and ingredients.

Pierre Gagnaire Restaurant – Janvier 2017

And if Chef Pierre Gagnaire has been able to stray far from the conventions inherent in the French culinary tradition, it is because he has mastered the codes for a long time already.

The career of Chef Pierre Gagnaire very early on crossed paths with starred cuisines! His father was indeed a Chef whose talent was crowned with a Michelin star when Pierre Gagnaire officiated with him. But its innovative course and style; his cuisine, which is primarily aimed at emotion – Pierre Gagnaire forged it through a journey that stretches from Quebec to Acapulco via Saint-Etienne and Lyon.

Pierre Gagnaire’s Kitchen: Everyday Works of Art

Born in 1950 in Apinac (Loire), Pierre Gagnaire set out from his early teens to conquer stoves. Pastry chef at 14 at Nelson in Saint Etienne, first starred at 26… Chef Pierre Gagnaire is today one of the most starred in the world with nearly 16 Michelin stars – and it is his quest for perfection doubled of unparalleled technicality that led him to the heights of a creative and very, very captivating cuisine!

Le Parcours De Pierre Gagnaire

After tasting the high standards required by the art of pastry making, it is alongside Paul Bocuse that the young Pierre Gagnaire will sharpen his sense of taste, and his kitchen knives. There, in 1965, he completed an internship with the immense Paul Bocuse – the same year the pioneer of Nouvelle Cuisine was awarded his third Michelin star.

A sign of future success for Pierre Gagnaire? Perhaps. What is certain is that the young apprentice would do everything to open up his horizons to exceptional cuisine.

In fact, he started an apprenticeship a year later – it was in Lyon, at the Juliette restaurant, that he trained a little more in regional cuisine. In 1968, he worked for Aunt Alice. But there you have it, the time has come for hens, lamb’s trotters in salads, terrines, meats and quenelles… Far from the aerial and creative cuisine for which Pierre Gagnaire is now favored by the world of gastronomy !

Perhaps the lineage of such a culinary imagination can be found in his travels. His travels that took him across America, from Quebec to Acapulco, for two years!

Before heading off to other cultural and necessarily culinary horizons, he met Alain Chapel and Philippe Chavent on his way – these two Chefs who have the figure of an esthete introduce him to emotional cuisine. From one who brings strong and sincere emotions as much as she feeds her man.

When he returned to France after two years practicing in the four corners of the Americas, Pierre Gagnaire took over the Clos Fleuri. His father’s restaurant, in Saint Priest en Jarez.

1981. Pierre Gagnaire then embarked on the solo adventure and opened his first restaurant in Saint-Etienne. He then develops the poetry of his cuisine – poems that hold in suspense with their verse here all in textures, flavors and colors. In 1993, the illustrious Michelin Guide recognized him as a genius in cooking: Pierre Gagnaire won three stars, the holy grail of international gastronomy.

But now, gastronomic recognition does not always rhyme with market recognition… At 46 years old, in 1996, Pierre Gagnaire experienced the bankruptcy of his first restaurant.

L’Emotion, The Key Word Of A Cuisine With 16 Michelin Stars

“& nbsp; I was incredibly fortunate to be in the Gault and Millau movement, incredible guys who really broke the kitchen, but with some excess. It brought a kind of freedom that did not exist in our universe, it was the first time, the youngest people must not realize, that we were talking about cooking. We didn’t talk about it until then. Putting words in, commenting on a meal like commenting on a work of art, a movie or a play, has completely changed the perception of cooking.

It helped me a lot. I had a paper by Jean-François Abert in Lyon Poche in 1978. The way he described the dish made me say ‘that’s cooking, it’s emotion that we want. give to people. ‘& nbsp; ”

The Restaurant De La Rue Balzac in Paris

This first failure will give wings to Pierre Gagnaire – he embarks 13 members of his brigade and embarks on the Parisian adventure. There, just a few months after the closure of his restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire intends to revive the kitchens of the Hotel Balzac.

As early as November 1996, he unleashed his creativity there in a cuisine that he had always considered to be an art – here he aimed at the unexpected. The bold textures, the hot-cold, the salty-sweet in short; Pierre Gagnaire invents complex and exceptional cuisine!

Striking in their composition, the dishes delivered by the kitchens of the restaurant on rue Balzac are marvels more tasty than each other. The mixtures surprise the senses; the flavors make the taste buds waltz.

Nourished by references, Pierre Gagnaire’s cuisine eventually caught the eye of the Michelin Guide – and Pierre Gagnaire regained his rank with 3 stars awarded in 1998.

Because this is again what makes Pierre Gagnaire’s cuisine a cornerstone of French gastronomy: the Chef knows how to find inspiration everywhere.

Pierre Gagnaire Restaurant – Janvier 2017

From the most cutting-edge arts to the most distant cultures … That he draws from the lines, colors and atmosphere of a painting by the customs officer Rousseau the gastronomic calligraphy of his dishes … That he borrows to Chinese cuisine aromas to better combine them with the simplicity of its dishes. Pierre Gagnaire is perhaps the most esthete of French Chefs.

But if he has all the aesthetics of a dish in mind, Pierre Gagnaire remembers that cooking comes down first to sealing what he calls the ‘right time’. And in this regard, he confided in an interview:

“& nbsp; The right time can be a bistro for 18 euros, a kebab, an oilcloth on which you drink a glass of white wine with a plate of cold cuts, or more sophisticated things. But the heart, the thread of history, is the sincerity of the product, the gesture and the individual who makes this gesture.

Today, the table, Guy Savoy already said a few years ago, remains one of the last places of sociability, but the table can be very modest; it can be a tablecloth placed in the park behind which there are kids playing, cardboard plates and where we spend two hours together. & nbsp; “

If at his beginnings, according to Pierre Gagnaire himself, he only sought to prepare the most sublime of plates, today it is taste that brings his cuisine to the heights of gastronomy.

What her cuisine has gained by simplifying itself in form is in the taste and flavors that she now takes flight!

Pierre Gagnaire Restaurant – Janvier 2017 – Marco Strullu /

In this regard, the signature dishes of the restaurant on rue Balzac in Paris orchestrate this 2020 season a range of dishes linked to a Land or Sea product.

We thus note ‘Parfums de terre, five dishes’. Fresh parmesan soufflé, pear brunoise and celeriac with Mont d´Or. Steamed slice of duck foie gras lobe, quince jelly, chard with corms. Sweet onion from the Cévennes Stanza. Transparent Jerusalem artichoke cannelloni, pepper artichokes, Violine snails. Batch of French beef tenderloin with smoked eel, calamansi caramel …

‘The black truffle melanosporum 2020’. Marine ice cream, nasturtium root, green Mallemort asparagus, puntarella, Thai grapefruit. Legris oyster with lard de Bigorre, parsnip paste. Checkerboard of Saint-Jacques d´Erquy, leek soup. A pascaline, red tuna tartare. Sea urchin bisque. Winter vegetable pie. Quince jelly, red meat, pepper….

A few dishes listed above are enough to capture Pierre Gagnaire’s formidable gastronomic signature – the variety of products, their metamorphosis, and the inventiveness of the pairings!

The Gastronomic Signature Of Pierre Gagnaire

Chiseled dishes never seen elsewhere. Pierre Gagnaire has in him the desire to go beyond the possible! And habits.

We come to have dinner at Pierre Gagnaire’s as we go to the opera or the theater – to discover the unexpected. And the unexpected here is around indefinable tastes, gastronomic flights and anything but impenetrable pleasures that we taste!

This is where all the emotion of his cooking lies: in the controlled fantasy of his very, very high-quality dishes.

Green asparagus with puntarelle and Thai grapefruit. Caramelized millefeuille with ginger mousseline.

The gastronomic signature distilled by Pierre Gagnaire can be summed up in one word: experience. An experience that can be exported wonderfully since in 2020, Pierre Gagnaire introduces it to the new restaurant, Le Paradiso, within the Majestic Barrière, in Cannes.

White asparagus. | Marco strullu

A new place that comes on top of Airelles in Courchevel, Bernard Magrez’s restaurant in Bordeaux (two stars), tables in Nîmes, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Sketch, located in London (three stars).

And it is surely Le Gault & Millau 2020 that best captures what makes Pierre Gagnaire’s cuisine an icon of the genre. “Do we come to Pierre Gagnaire to eat? The answer is yes if we engage this vital need of the human species to taste, to distinguish, to appreciate, to make its sensuality work. Then you will take indescribable pleasure thanks to the five ritual plates which will disorient you as in a dream of a baroque feast. “

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