Pichet turns 10 this month. With that in mind we thought it was high time we heard from the man that has been there since the key was first turned in the door of this much loved Trinity Street eatery.
Tell us what inspired you to cook and what age you started?
From as young as I can remember I always wanted to cook. My mum used to do a big bake every Saturday morning and I helped. I was probably only 5 or 6 years old. I’ve never thought about doing any other job.
I took my first summer job at the age of 13 in a local bakery. The first few months I was the kitchen porter but I would come in early and help the French Pastry chef making Black Forest gâteau’s and pastries.
What is your favourite food memory?
We used to go fishing loads as kids with my dad. Catching mackerel and grilling it for lunch on the boat. So good.
Where do you draw inspiration for your menus?
At the moment I buzz off all the other chefs in the kitchen. So my different nationalities in Café en Seine and it’s great to see how proud they are to show their food and culture on the menu.
Have you any suppliers or producers that stand out to you and why?
I still use the same suppliers that I used 18 years ago when I started in l’Ecrivain through to Pichet and now Café en Seine. I have good relationships with them all. That’s so important as a chef to have confidence in the person that’s getting your meat fish veg etc.
What in your opinion are some of the most underrated ingredients available to us in Ireland?
Porridge. Without it my day is ruined.
How do you stay motivated and relevant within your role?
My passion for cooking keeps me motivated. Eating in other restaurants being inspired by other people’s food. Instagram is amazing. You get to check out everyone’s food anywhere in the world on your phone. Constantly coming across cool ideas and dishes.
I suppose I stay relevant by still cooking every day.
What is your ultimate food indulgence?
Last summer before we opened Café en Seine we went on a four day 20 restaurant food tour of NYC. In every restaurant we just asked the waiter to send loads of dishes that they recommend. This was probably as close to my ultimate food indulgence as I’ll get. We came back home a few kg heavier but totally inspired.
Any favourite restaurants and chefs?
There’s so many good restaurants in Ireland it’s hard to say one. I suppose Forest avenue, I love what John and sandy do.
Outside of Ireland I guess it’s Upland in NYC.
Don’t have a favourite chef. I Respect any chef who works crazy long hours and goes to work everyday to cook the best they can.
Your job is undoubtedly both physically and mentally demanding do you have an outlet that helps you refresh and re energies your mind and body?
Working as a chef is an extremely demanding job on your body. I go to the gym 3/4 times a week and cycle 22km everyday to work. I find my cycle home in the night a great way of unwinding after service. It’s so hard to switch off after work otherwise. I love music and try and go to as many gigs as possible. I’m still on a high from seeing ride at the workman’s two weeks ago.
Tell us what you love about working in your current role and why it’s a right fit for you?
I love the challenge of making Café en Seine a success. I want it to be known for it’s great food. I would love Café to be in line for gastro pub of the year next year at the RAI awards. That’s my goal. And to win it. I suppose it’s the right fit for me because of the connection to Pichet.
My business partners in Pichet own Café en Seine and I have a great working relationship with them and I suppose moving forward in my career it’s the right path to go. I still get to be involved in the day to day running of Pichet and work in Café en Seine.