Chef Michel Troisgros: Simplicity and Refinement, Part 2

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The acclaimed chef expounds on the relationship between French and Japanese cuisines

“It goes way back in the past and there is a culinary bridge with exchange of knowledge between the French and Japanese chefs.”

Now that you are moving to a brand new location in 2016, will a lot of memories be left behind?
It was a big decision considering the history, economy and social connections. We have a sentimental attachment here and on the other hand there is also risk involved in this decision too. Since I look at the future with the knowledge of the past I decided to go ahead for my children. I want them to breathe new air, not be bound by the weight of tradition and the past. I know how that feels since it was my life, not that I did not appreciate it or feel very lucky to have that. Today I am free but for many years I was bound by family history, tradition and even guests who expected that from me. It makes your life feel heavy without freedom to imagine or be dynamic.

In this context the choice of moving makes sense. We are only moving the location but still staying in our familiar region. It is only seven kilometers from here and the restaurant and hotel will be in the center of the parcel of land with gardens and capacity to plant fruit, vegetables etc. We are moving from a station to a garden [laughing]. Initially it will be hard with nostalgia about the past but I am aware of it and anticipate that will happen after leaving this place.

Will the dynamic of the kitchen change?
My son Cesar is very involved in this project, in the design, circulation etc. and since it is an old farm we have to organize everything with respect to the future. Cesar is very mature for his age, maybe more than I was at 28. At that age I was a chef but still playing and not so focused and not thinking about the future. I am sure the first year will be a period of adjustment. I am also aware that it will change the way I cook and will certainly change my daily life. So I anticipate change within myself in this period.

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These days a chef has to be in this position of doing it all and besides cooking also organizing the culture around him. I am a chef who still cooks and not the kind that opens a new restaurant every year. I am a chef who likes being in his home and welcoming guests to give them our best as a family. I am doing that here but at the new place I want my sons involved and besides me. I feel that they should be free and not be weighed down by the Troisgros legacy. It will be a new beginning for all of us.

This is the second in a three-part interview with chef Michel Troisgros. You can find the first here, and the third here.