Chef Anne-Sophie Pic scores Michelin star hat-trick

Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:10am EDT
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By Marcel Michelson

VALENCE, France (Reuters Life!) - Anne-Sophie Pic scored a family hat-trick last year when she won three Michelin stars for her Maison Pic restaurant in the south of France, just like her father in 1973 and grandfather in 1934.

But despite her family's gastronomic legacy, going into the kitchen was not part of the original plan for Pic, one of a handful of French females chefs to receive that many stars.

She attended management school and traveled to the United States and Japan, where she met her husband. She changed her mind in 1992, however, joining her father at Maison Pic. He died the same year, and the restaurant automatically lost a star.

In 1997, she took charge of the kitchen with her husband and a decade later she regained that third star, breaking with traditional recipes that use heavy sauces and introducing a variety of subtle tastes and unusual combinations.

Pic, who is also working on a recipe book due out this month, spoke to Reuters recently about cooking.

Q: What do you aim to achieve in cooking?

A: I work on the combination of flavors. When I develop a dish I start with the principal ingredient and then try to imagine what will best underline that ingredient. And to keep it simple, not too complicated.

People talked about the generosity of my father and they referred to the big portions. In cooking, as I see it the portions are smaller but the generosity is in the right touch, in the pleasure of the clients. With a combination of different textures. No nitrogen cooking for me, however, that is too showy.   Continued...