x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'I am not a fashion victim'

Home in the life of Xavier Dupuy, who is the third generation of his family to run La Cornue, the French oven brand founded by his grandfather in 1908.

Xavier Dupuy with his daughter, Zoè, at his house in Gascony in the south-west of France. It is Dupuy's favourite home, where the family goes on holiday.
Xavier Dupuy with his daughter, Zoè, at his house in Gascony in the south-west of France. It is Dupuy's favourite home, where the family goes on holiday.

Xavier Dupuy is the third generation of his family to run La Cornue, the French oven brand founded by his grandfather in 1908.

For me, La Cornue is not only a piece of metal, it is a way to live, and the best way to live is with your family. It is very important to use the kitchen as a link to your children. I have three children and the two older ones are quite clever about cooking. When we are together in Gascony we eat local produce. It is a very rich area for duck, chicken and lamb and you can buy vegetables in season directly from many farms.

Not at all. For instance, in the home in south-west France, we built the extension where we would like to put the kitchen. In Normandy we want to create a space mixing living, kitchen and dining room. I don't like just using the old kitchen site; we are not living in the 18th century after all.

Yes, but I'm not a fashion victim. I like unique pieces but I'm not a flea market guy; I prefer to be linked to my time. I like high tech, good sound and music, but I'm not much concerned by the old way of life.

Well it wasn't a strategic decision; it was more a dramatic event. When my mother died 22 years ago I said to my father that it would be impossible to run the company in partnership with my uncles. So I invested what I inherited to buy back their shares.

I feel that La Cornue is not just cooking; it should also drive a way of life. The La Cornue way of life is a very nice one - where you have time to do no work - and I try to have that. To take care of three homes with three Cornues is a second job.

The Normandy home, near Paris, is the easiest to go to for business. It's a 'countryside' place, with a lot of land. But my favourite is the home in Gascony because we go there only for holidays. It's about the pleasures of filling up a fridge, getting supplies and so on. The house is typically French; the kitchen has a central island hub opening onto the dining room. When you're cooking it means you are looking towards people and not at the wall. It makes a big difference.

For me, it is a way to link with roots, to spend time with my kids, and of course to accommodate friends. At home I like to sleep, read, cook and shop. I like to do dinners, indoors and outdoors. The garden is like an outdoor room; it's very important. I like a creative garden where there is a different picture in April and in June. I also like to be able to walk and pick fruit. When the kids bring back fruit to make a pie or tarts, it's something that brings meaning to life. I like the simple things in life, but many people are unable to have these things - maybe they are not so simple.

I really dislike never-ending projects. For me, a project should have a beginning, a process and something that resembles an ending. I have done my homes from scratch and they are like a snapshots of my family life. If the children leave tomorrow, who knows what I might change.

No, because I never leave a home without a reason. My grandfather was the first Dupuy to be born in Paris, and I was born on the Champs Elysées. But I'm the first to come back to the birthplace of the family. Normandy was my childhood home and my father is buried in the village cemetery. I don't think I will ever say goodbye to that place. Maybe one day I will have my own 'room' beside my father in the village. Who knows where you will finish.