Have you always wanted to ask your favorite chef what they love to eat when they’re at home? Or perhaps what they think the next big food or dining trend will be? Look no further than this exclusive series of chef interviews by JustLuxe. So read on, as we bring you these answers and more — direct from the culinary masters themselves. Some of the most famous names in the industry, including legendary Michelin-starred chefs, have divulged exciting insider information and personal stories of their journey to the top just for our readers.
Restaurant: Bagatelle Location: New York Type of Cuisine: French Mediterranean
JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a chef? What influenced you to do so?
Romuald: When I was 14 years old, living in Germany, my father was an officer for the French Military and his job was to purchase the food for the officers’ cafeteria. One time I had to get paperwork signed for school, and so I went into his office, but I had to walk through the kitchen to talk to him. When I saw the kitchen and the cooks a light bulb went off and I felt that it was my goal. Also, I grew up with my grandmother, who was a private chef. She was an inspiration to me, I remember when she use to make brioche.
JustLuxe: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring chef, what would you say?
Romuald: Be humble, coachable and hardworking.
JustLuxe: Where do you get inspiration for the design of your dishes and plating?
Romuald: I like things simple with minimum components- it has to be a clean presentation.
JustLuxe: What do you predict as the next big trend in cooking and/or the restaurant industry?
Romuald: There are a lot of things going on right now, to be honest. I feel that the Bagatelle concept has so much energy, which is crucial. Overall though, it’s really less stuffy, if you will, and it’s much more relaxing and fun, and that is becoming more and more popular across the board in the industry. Bagatelle also has all of the important details down to a science: great service, food and ambiance, all of which are at the same level of quality. At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer’s experience, and that’s of utmost importance for restaurants with the growing number of competitors out there. It’s all about the experience.
JustLuxe: Which season do you look forward to the most for its ingredients?
Romuald: That’s tough, I like everything. If I had to pick it would be Fall or Winter for the game birds. I miss that in restaurants these days- having game birds with good vegetables, all farm raised, great flavors, great ingredients. The key to good food is 1- the ingredients, 2- the technique and 3- the seasoning.
JustLuxe: What places or cities in the world have influenced your cooking the most?
Romuald: New York, Brittany in France (where I started my career in a fisherman’s port with all of the fish and seafood), London and the Ivory Coast in Africa.
JustLuxe: In your opinion, what innovation has recently influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way?
Romuald: Sous Vide- the process of reaching consistency and timing in cooking
JustLuxe: What would you say is the current climate of business in the restaurant industry?
Romuald: It is not what it used to be, the whole industry has changed drastically.
JustLuxe: What is your favorite dish to prepare at home as opposed to the plate you enjoy preparing in the kitchen?
Romuald: At home I like to cook roasted chicken with truffle risotto for my son, Rémy. At Bagatelle I enjoy cooking the calamari dish- Calamars à la Plancha
JustLuxe: Besides gastronomy, what other passions do you have?
Romuald: Traveling, my son Rémy, photography, fitness and collecting cooking books.
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