The fusion of tradition and innovation
Margaux began her trip in Belgium, at chef Ferdy Debecker’s restaurant Eyckerhof in Bornem, near Mechelen, a partner of the Trophée Jeunes Talents since its beginnings in 2015. “I discovered a very refined gastronomic cuisine, inspired by French and Flemish traditions. I was given hands-on experience in several very different techniques: preparing raw dishes, making creative combinations such as macaroons with beetroot and foie gras, cooking wild duck with seasonal vegetables and finding unexpected pastry harmonies by blending black chocolate with Jerusalem artichokes and pears. I was really inspired by their approach, which involved the fusion between tradition and innovation. For example, for the meal for our return to Les vergers Boiron, I revisited their Black Forest cake, by using a ganache I discovered in Norway and a technique using kirsch cherries dipped in white chocolate that I learned in Belgium.”
An incredibly human experience
Next stage: Germany, at the Talblick restaurant in the heart of the Black Forest, an experience that Margaux calls “humanly unbelievable”. Chef Claus Weitbrecht welcomed her as if she was a member of his family. “I was special attention as soon as I got up in the morning, with the grandmother or the son bringing me ham or cheese in my room for breakfast. But, beyond their incredible kindness, this family taught me the meaning of devotion and solidarity. I remember when the grandfather, who had broken his arm, still wanted to keep serving guests in the dining room. They were always positive, proud to share their techniques with me, deeply-rooted in tradition and yet completely open to new ideas.”
Something else impressed Margaux: the capacity of Talblick to adapt to its clients. For lunch, they serve a bistro menu, with homemade cold cuts, Spätzle (Swabian pasta) and Maultaschen (Swabian meat-stuffed ravioli), which has become her favorite dish. “I cooked this dish for the meal we served to the vergers Boiron staff upon our return. It’s an homage to Werner, the grandfather, which symbolizes his love of the land, his respect for doing things properly and his determination to transmit his passion and the essential small gestures that make the difference when you’re cooking. These values are also those of Les vergers Boiron.”
A dream come true
Margaux’s last stop: Norway. “I discovered an unbelievably beautiful country, a dream come true where the forests, the sea and the mountains all combine to create picture-perfect landscapes, with almost 20 hours of sunlight every day at the end of my trip. The Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri restaurant almost exclusively uses local products, including the island’s free-roaming sheep that graze on wildflowers, served with a great abundance of locally-grown vegetables. And, of course, there are a lot of fish, which fill the waters around the island. In a setting like this, respecting the land and short-circuit sourcing are obvious choices. Chef Ørjan Johannessen, Bocuse d’Or in 2015, can change the menu every day and he enjoys trying out all sorts of very creative combinations. He allowed us to give free rein to our imagination and to try all sorts of new things. I was also able to take a few days off with my parents and visit the fjords, which was an amazing way to end the trip! I want to thank Les vergers Boiron for having given me the experience of a lifetime, where everything we love and cherish come together perfectly.”
Photo: Claude Fougeirol
Margaux has the granite determination of her native Brittany. At the age of fourteen, although she was a good student, her class teacher told her parents: “Don’t stop her from doing a vocational catering course!” “I have never hesitated”, states this tall brunette with stars in her eyes. “Throughout my childhood, I was always in the kitchen, pestering my grandmother or at friends in Romania. While the others visited the area, I would stay with Elena, the mother, to prepare the evening meal”.
During her BTS course, at Le Toya, a starred restaurant, she discovered the tough requirements and intensity of working in a gourmet team. She rose to the challenge and worked hard. “You can’t count the hours when you love what you do!”, she claims. She also admits: “In any case, I don’t want to disappoint, ever. Neither my family nor my chefs, so I give it all I’ve got”. The results were quick to follow. She was a finalist in the national Olivier Roellinger competition in 2014. Chef Loïc Villemin, who welcomed her in 2015, quickly put his trust in her and left her to work in complete autonomy. In 2016, she decided to enter the Boiron Frères Young Talents Trophy and her tasting, cooking and written tests were unanimously praised by the jury. Her application form already showed her rigour.
“It’s really worth trying to win an award like this one”, she explains. To work for 3 Bocuse d’Or Winners… it’s the stuff of dreams! She has already developed a taste for travel with her parents with whom she has explored many East European countries: Hungary, Rumania, Austria. Her only concern is her emotional nature. Margaux is very sensitive. She hides her game well but at the cost of great restraint. She should appreciate the Nordic calm… like Cyndie, winner#1 who found the calm she was looking for in the northern teams. Margaux is particularly interested in differences between teams and cultures. It’s a subject she hopes to develop in her blog. For her, as for Marie, it is essential to talk about her experience. “Not everyone gets such a great opportunity. We need to share our good fortune!”
Photos : Umami, Ginko
Roast the celery in a hay crust.
Melt the beetroot puree in water.
|Mini celeriac||3 pièces|
|Les vergers Boiron Beetroot puree||1 kg|
|Grape seed oil||QS|
|Spring onions||5 bunch|
|White vinegar||0,080 L|
|Caster sugar||0,060 Kg|
|Chick pea flour||0,250 Kg|
|Olive oil||0,020 L|
Slice then burn the onions.
Make the pickling juice. Heat it and pour over the onions.
Make a vegetable stock with offcuts.
Poach the broccolini.
Make the panisse mixture. Pour out to chill and cut into portions.
Fry and brown in the vegetable ash.
SAUCE AND CONDIMENT
Warm the oat milk and mango puree.
Add the lecithin and beat into an emulsion.
Roast the pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts.
Blitz and add the grape seed oil.
|Oat milk||0,500 L|
|Les vergers Boiron Mango puree||0,300 Kg|
|Pumpkin seeds||0,100 Kg|
|Whole hazelnuts||0,100 Kg|
|Grape seed oil||QS|
|Buckwheat flour||0,030 Kg|
|Grape seed oil||0,120 L|
Prepare the dough for the crisp patties.
Make them in a non-stick pan.