I discovered cooking at hotel school, as I had first thought of becoming a member of serving staff. However, when I met great chefs in important brigades I discovered the ways of thinking and spirit of these men and women, all so different and fascinating in themselves. I owe a great deal to Raoul Gaiga and Jean-Yves Guého at Le Méridien Montparnasse restaurant, to Gabriel Biscay of Maison Prunier restaurant, and to Louis Outhier and the Raimbaut brothers at L’Oasis restaurant in Napoule before I spent twelve years as chef at La Villa restaurant in Calvi. What has left its mark on me from all these experiences? The rigour you need to reach the most exacting quality, the quest for top-quality ingredients, the need for the dining room and the kitchens to be in tune with each other, and finally the work as part of a brigade where each individual performs an important role. My reward? The Best Worker in France award in 2004 and winning two stars in the Michelin Guide, first in 2007 at La Villa restaurant in Calvi, and then again in 2010 at the restaurant at Hôtel du Castellet after I had been there for only 2 months: that was a moment of great satisfaction and joy, shared with the brigade and the management. My cuisine? Mediterranean and up to date, putting ingredients foremost, with plenty of flavour, a cuisine where you can imagine the techniques that lie behind it but you can’t see them…
What criteria do you use to select the finest ingredients?
My first experience was in Corsica, with fishermen who delivered still-living fish directly to the restaurant. I learned a lot from them, especially about the various local species. Today I work with a family of fishermen – three generations – at the Sanary market, where I go to meet with them every morning.
What is your Chef’s secret to preparing your star ingredient?
My favorite fish are red mullet, for its mellow but robust flavor, and John Dory. I like to cook them as simply as possible, grilled a la plancha, adapting the cooking time carefully to each fish according to its species.