Chef Frechon interprets, refines French classics

Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:47am EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Fewer than 100 restaurants in the world have three Michelin stars, among the culinary world's highest honors. Hotel Le Bristol Paris where Eric Frechon is the head chef is one of them.

The distinction is one of many accolades for Frechon, who was born in Normandy in northwestern France. He was also voted Chef of the Year by Le Chef Magazine and awarded the Legion d'Honneur by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who is a fan of his culinary talent.

During a visit to New York, where he cooked some of his signature dishes at Daniel, another three-star Michelin restaurant, Frechon spoke to Reuters about growing up in northern France, his approach to cooking and the importance of good ingredients.

Q: Who, or what, inspired you to be a chef?

A: "From morning to night, even in the middle of the night, I always think about cooking. But I also can get inspired by an ingredient, an object. But I am traditionally trained and inspired by French cuisine and interested in giving it a new look and taking a new approach to French cuisine."

Q: You started very young, at 17. Did you always want to be a chef and who had the biggest influence on you?"

A: "Paul Bocuse, of course. I didn't know him but he was the man who was the pope of gastronomy. For a young chef he was the symbol of the greatest French chef."

Q: You were born in Normandy. Has growing up in northern France had an impact on your choice of dishes and the ingredients that you use?   Continued...

<p>French chef Eric Frechon is shown in an undated file photo. REUTERS/Hotel Le Bristol Paris/Handout</p>