x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

The kitchen is love, non?

q&a Nicolas Isnard is the head chef at Auberge de la Charme in Prenois, France, which has one Michelin star.

The chef Nicolas Isnard will be in Abu Dhabi next week.
The chef Nicolas Isnard will be in Abu Dhabi next week.

Nicolas Isnard is the head chef at Auberge de la Charme in Prenois, France, which has one Michelin star. He was nominated Grand de demain 2008 by the Gault Millau gastronomical guide. He will be cooking some of his signature dishes as the guest chef at Finz restaurant at the Beach Rotana in Abu Dhabi from Sunday until Nov 13. He lives in Bourgogne, France.

I will be cooking sea bass, lobster and beef, among other things. I like to travel; it's good for the spirit. I went to Beijing last year and am going to Jakarta and Portugal in January. I like to do two or three promotions abroad each year.

My style is a mix of contemporary and classical. I like people to be able to come to my restaurant and recognise dishes from their childhood, although I will have added a contemporary twist. For instance, I make a classic French onion soup, but with ice cream. It is different and contemporary. The contrast of the hot onion soup and the cold ice cream is very playful. Cooking things like fish with banana doesn't interest me, but I like to turn old dishes into something original. In France, my region is Bourgogne, so I make a lot of river fish and beef with garlic and parsley.

For me, the quality comes from using good produce. If a chef works with good produce, he will have a good kitchen. It is important to be hard-working, but the new generation of chefs are polite and pleasant in the kitchen - no shouting or screaming. I am a polite chef and my staff stay with me for five or six years. It is difficult to work with someone who shouts. Chefs can work long, difficult hours, so it is important to be sympathique.

I love tuna sashimi with some salt and vinegar or soy sauce. I love to cook eggs as well. They are very simple, but there is a lot of technique involved. I cook them in the oven with mushrooms or truffles at about 60 to 65 degrees Celsius for an hour.

I like Pascale Barbot's restaurant, L'Astrance - a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Paris. It's small and private, with only 25 seats. It's difficult to make a reservation there, but whenever I do, it's fantastic.

I love fresh raw tuna, but it's difficult to find now. I love this product. It's a fish, but it tastes like meat. Then I would have French onion soup followed by a lot of chocolate to finish - chocolate ice cream with ganache.

My wife and children. The kitchen is love, non? My daughter is four and a half and my son is three months. I hope my son will work with me, but I want him to make his choice. If he says, "Papa, I don't want to cook", I won't mind.