“Cuisine is an art of interrelations”
Far from resting on his laurels, world-renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire is constantly striving to create something new.
“I need to strike just the right tone, with balance and regularity.” When Pierre Gagnaire speaks, his piercing blue eyes and slender, restless hands convey a sense of his perception of cuisine as an unfinished quest. As though everything still remained to be built, discovered, proven. He speaks passionately about his latest obsession: coffee, its different origins, how the beans are roasted, the cups it’s served in… This perpetual risk-taking is what strikes one most about his approach to the art of gastronomy, which he has been practicing for so many years. For Gagnaire, cuisine is an art of interrelations, a vocation that drives him to be continually creative, constantly giving of himself.
In the L-shaped kitchen of the Paris restaurant that bears his name, the activity is fluid and precise, perfectly orchestrated from the strategically-placed hatch in the corner. The desserts are prepared, and the loaves of bread baked, in a spacious room in the basement. The menu is streamlined: two starters, two fish dishes, two meat dishes, two desserts. But each item on the list is a sensory journey, a medley of flavors to be discovered from one course to the next. Watching Gagnaire and his team at work, we marvel at how the different phases of this journey come together. The tableware plays a crucial role, like the pale blue and gold set that echoes the five elements in the recipe for “Palamos,” a dish that derives its name from the main ingredient: prawns macerated in holly brandy.
Halting in mid-preparation, he bends closer to enhance the visual composition of the dish. Perspective, exaltation: that’s what Pierre Gagnaire prizes. And that is the colossal legacy that he offers us through his cuisine.