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"The hospitality, the greeting, the smile and the interactions are our priority"

  • You took over l’auberge de Saint Remy de Provence with your husband Jonathan Wahid. Why did you choose to settle in this region?

It’s funny that you ask this because there is indeed a little story that explains our choice. After my apprenticeship, I’ve worked in the Luberon, in La Bastide de Marie, a kind of hotel or guest-house. I immediately loved it and I’ve thought that if I had to establish a restaurant one day, it would be there. This is exactly what happened, not in the Luberon but still in Provence.

 

  • How would you describe your way of cooking?

It’s a vegetal and Provencal cooking, based on local products and short cycles. I use a lot of fish, vegetables and cereals. As we are close to Camargue, from mountains and from various producers, it’s very easy to find the right products there.

As I was born in Bourgogne, I’ve always been used to cook with butter and I’ve had to learn how to cook with oil when I first arrived in Provence. Nevertheless, I use very few fat ingredients and I promote a light, slightly salted and healthy cuisine. I work a lot with algae and aromatic plants which are very tasty and compensate the absence of salt.

 

  • What atmosphere do you want to create in your restaurant?

It’s a hostel. Therefore, I want to make this place a warm and welcoming one. Everyone should feel at home. The hospitality, the greeting, the smile and the interactions are our priority. As innkeepers, we want to highlight the beautiful values of France.

 

  • Why did you accept to become the sponsor of the 8th edition of la Fête de la Gastronomie – Goût de France?

I feel very close to the values of this event and I want to promote them. As I have two kids, I am particularly attached to the transmission of my passion to young generations. I like visiting schools so that children can taste my dishes. Also, when a child comes in my hostel, I always invite him in the kitchen at the end of his meal in order to prepare the dessert with him!

Another value that really takes me to heart is the inclusiveness of the gastronomy. We propose midday menus for 39€, which includes an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert since we consider that gastronomy should be opened to everyone. As a matter of principle there is no bad products. This menu is a good way to introduce our philosophy and our way of cooking.

 

  • How do you want to play that role of sponsor of the 8th edition of la Fête de la Gastronomie – Goût de France?

When I first discovered the organization of la Fête de la Gastronomie – Goût de France by participating to its first national meeting which gathered the main actors of the event together, I realized the large scape it had reached. I saw men and women engaged for its development and today, I really want it to become a gastronomic rendezvous for every French people. I would like to showcase it as well as I can.

I would also like to promote the careers that remain in the shadow such as waiter, innkeeper or restaurateur in schools. The public should be aware that those who occupy these jobs are passionate people, keen on sharing their passion. These professions are ancestral and essential, but they are having difficulties to attract young people.

 

  • What does the thematic of the year “The taste through all its senses” inspire you?

It inspires me a return to the basics, to the heart of raw products. When the product is delivered, one touches it, and the other one smells it and enjoys its colors. The product expresses a lot about himself, about its local region.

 

  • How can you link your cooking to this thematic?

I like simplicity and authenticity rather than transformation. Respecting the product from its delivery to its preparation without manipulation is crucial for me. Each fish and vegetable are different. I want to appreciate the flesh of the product by respecting the cooking times, without adding too many spices.

 

  • You are the only female chef who was awarded a star by the guide Michelin 2017. How do you consider the place of women in gastronomy?

The job of chef is definitely a physical job but women are not excluded from it.  I taught several women and I am convinced that they all have their spot in the gastronomy sector as long as they are rigorous and passionate.  As far as I am concerned, I have always done my job with all my heart and for nothing in the world I would do something else.

The number of starred women chef should raise. Kitchen have been improved for what heat or weight of materials concerns. Therefore, the profession is more opened to women.

 

  • What do you think is the reason of this award and of your title “Female Chef of the year 2017”

First, these awards are due to teamwork. Young cooks have been following me for quite some time and we have been working together side by side. Without solidarity, nothing is possible.
They are also due to a lot of work and involvement. Without work, there is no success.
Finally, I would say that they are due to a certain philosophy: bringing pleasure to our clients.