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07/08/2009

The cooking Class of Hervé Garnier, chef of Le Pergolèse (Tokyo)

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(I decided to write this article in english in order the Japanese can understand.. sorry for the grammatical or orthographic mistakes... I will write another one one day in french ;)).

It's a long time ago I wanted to write an article about the so shy and secretive new Chef of Le Pergolèse, Hervé Garnier. But as his modesty makes his personnality that has been a quite hard enterprise to let him authorize me to go in his restaurant to taste his Cuisine. I have been able by chance to attend to his cooking class on July 26th.  What's more could I asked ?

The experience was beyond my hope. Hervé Garnier, even if he still has to find its feets, will probably within the years confirm Stephane Gaborieau's choice to offer him this new role couple months ago.

The story could be like a fairy tale. One morning as he was arriving to the restaurant in Paris, he was asked by Stéphane Gaborieau whether he would like to go to Japan. He had 24 hours to decide. Despite his permanent questions, he accepted without knowing at all what will be this unexpected adventure.

He still often doubts of his personnal talent, after couple of months, because of his perfectionnism and his  P1130693.jpgworries to satisfy his guests. Hervé has this so charming charism of the discreet personnalities. Don't expect from him to be spontaneously on the front scene, or be a perfect orator... But after all, who cares ?

Nowadays, lot of communication or PR agencies would probably push him to be what he is not, in order to sell an "image". Wrong way. A Chef is not supposed to be a People, even if our modern societies are highly influenced to think in terms of marketing views, which sometimes creates lot of no-flavoured personnalities.

Hervé Garnier doesn't want to be someone else except himself, even if he knows he might not be the "brillant" personnality that some people might expect from him. And this is probably his main strenght and what will ensure the future of Le Pergolèse with very strong values : authenticity, generosity to the customers, attention to details, professionalism, perfectionnism and his so surprising world when you start to know him better.

Hervé Garnier is at last everything but nothing superficial, nothing to impress the medias, nothing politicaly correct in order to please the public. This is probably the reason why his team still needs a little bit more time to discover and understand where he wants to lead them, as they have been used to another temper before. Not better, neither worst, just different. This is also probably the reason why he is so appreciated and considered by some of them  as "not a French but a Japanese". What better compliment could do a Japanese to a Gaijing ?

P1130671.jpgThe new Chef loves simplicity of relationships and is a high dreamer, often lost in his amazing so rich musical universe for who knows him. Ask him about music, and suddenly you will see his eyes becoming brillant. He will probably make you discover some groups. So sensitive to his environment, and although he is not yet very comfortable with the japanese language, he highly cares of the well being of his wonderful staff.

Hervé Garnier is the opposite of a self ego and believes in the energy of common synergies. With his new sous-chef Aoki - who is very creative mixing his japanese sensibility with his experience of the French Cuisine -, his Maitre d'Hotel, Shiba,  and all those people I have been lucky to discover and share some very good times with during my last stay in Tokyo, there is probably no doubt that the challenge will be completed in order to give new directions for Le Pergolèse, while keeping Stéphane Gaborieau's touch.

The magic of the good Cuisine is the result of human exchanges and life experiences. Being a Chef is first being very human, and not forget that the spirit of cooking is to bring happiness, conviviality around the Art de la Table. Hervé Garnier would loves to mix the so french Cuisine du Terroir with the creativity exigences of the  Michelin Star award.

 

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(Aoki on the right)
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(Shiba)

Little by little, he tried to purpose some new meals as for example his wonderful appetizer with shellfish and leaks, co-created with Aoki or his new chocolate mignardises, especially the chocolate-passion's one. He now works on the new menu which will have to be approved by Stéphane Gaborieau. But for me and because all those reasons, Hervé Garnier is indiscutably a real Chef who can impulse a new spirit to Le Pergolèse, bringing his own sensitivity and regard on French Cuisine.

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If you want to discover Hervé ;), click HERE.

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