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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Chef Guy Rebsamen worked in Europe, the United States and China before being lured back to his native France but his experiences abroad are reflected in his interpretations of regional French cuisine.
The owner of Chez Guy Restaurant, Gevrey Chambertin, south of Dijon since 1995, Rebsamen and his son Yves, who is also a chef, use the best local ingredients from local markets to create recipes to reflect his motto -- eat well to live well.
During a recent visit to New York to promote the art, culture and cuisine of Dijon, he spoke to Reuters about his approach to cooking and some of his favorite recipes.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a chef?
A: "Yes. When I was 16 I said I wanted to be a cook. My parents and my grandparents asked why and I said I liked the work and it was what I wanted to do.... I said I wanted to go all over the world to learn the work."
Q: Who has had the biggest influence on you in your career?
A: "I worked with Raymond Oliver, who has three stars in the Michelin Guide. He was very, very good. I also worked at The Savoy in London and then I returned to Dijon and worked with Emile Jung, who has two Michelin stars. These two guys gave me the real desire to do my best."
Q: How would you describe your style of cooking?
A: "Classic variations ... To make good cuisine you have to use good products. If you don't have good products you cannot make good cuisine."
Q: Dijon is famous for its mustard. What regional dishes do you serve at your restaurant?
A: "Beef cheeks (Noix de Joue de Boeuf Braise) cooked in red wine sauce, for 12 hours, very slowly and served with carrots with cardamom."
Q: What are some special, or typical, Dijon ingredients you use in your cooking?
A: "We use milk, of course. We use wine, white and red. For example, we make parfait eggs in red wine. We make Jambon Persille, a specialty of Dijon, which is ham cooked with jelly and parsley and garlic. Also, fish ... with a beurre blanc or also, of course, Poulet de Bresse or Poulard de Bresse. And don't forget the small red fruits, like raspberries, blackcurrant, and we have a couple of very nice cheeses."
Q: When you cook for yourself, what do you make?
A: "For myself, I like to eat beef, vegetables, and I like pork very much and a good green salad with vinegar and olive oil. And don't forget. I always drink a glass of red wine."
Beef Cheeks Braised 12 Hours in Pinot Noir with Cardamom Carrots -- Serves 4
1 lbs beef cheeks *
2 bottles of Pinot Noir
3 tbsp butter
1 large onion
1 lb carrots (6-8 medium size)
Scant teaspoon peppercorns
1 cup reduced veal stock
2 tsp black cardamom pods, crushed
Salt & pepper
2 slices of dried, cured ham, such as prosciutto or country ham
* Have beef cheeks prepared for cooking by your butcher. Beef stew meat may also be substituted.
Dice the onion and two carrots. Cook in 2 tbsp butter in an enamel cast iron pot. Add the red wine, bring to a boil and add the beef cheeks. Lightly pepper the meat and leave to simmer on a very low flame, covered, for 12 hours.
After 12 hours, remove the beef cheeks from the pot, reduce the red wine, add the veal stock, and reduce the liquid again. Adjust seasoning.
For the carrots: peel and cut the carrots into diagonal slices. Put them in a pan with water and 1.5 tbsp butter and the crushed black cardamom pods. Cook until tender and liquid is boiled away, add salt and pepper to taste.
Present the beef cheeks and the carrots in a serving dish or in individual serving bowls. Just before serving, add garnish with strips of dried, cured ham if desired.