Chef Caals started his career working in cuisine and pastry in restaurants throughout France and Belgium. In 2001, Chef Caals decided to become a teacher and remained at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon until 2006 when he moved to the Groupe Alain Ducasse. In 2008, Chef Caals joined Le Cordon Bleu Paris team of Chef Instructors. Meet the chef with us.
Patrick Caals, cuisine chef at Le Cordon Bleu Paris
Where did your passion for cuisine come from?
I grew up in a family where I was able to develop my passion for cooking with my grandmother and my mother, who both cooked a lot. By the age of five I already wanted to wear chef's whites!
Were you ever inspired by a chef during your career?
Many great chefs have inspired me, especially: Jean-Pierre Clément and Christian Garreau from Fauchon for their discipline and rigor. Franck Petagna, MOF, during his time with Bocuse. He instilled in me high standards, the satisfaction of a job well done. He also guided me and helped me to improve. Alain Ducasse, for the way simplifies the product and respects his ingredients.
What do you believe are the essential qualities needed to become a good chef?
A good chef should like the satisfaction of a job well done, be open minded, rigorous and humble and lead by example in all jobs, big and small.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a chef?
I would recommend he/she takes time to figure out what they want to emphasize in their cuisine. It is also important to know how to put oneself in place of the person who will taste the finished dish so that you always give it your all.
What do you think of the recent popularity of cuisine?
I am delighted about the popularity of cuisine in recent years. It puts the chef profession and other skilled manual trades back into the limelight. Nevertheless, there are too many cuisine shows these days.
On another note, what is your favorite dish, personally speaking?
Off the top of my head I would say sandwiches, because you can enjoy the taste of the ingredients in their simplest form. When it comes to dishes, I especially enjoy fish dishes.
And on the dessert front?
I like simple, unpretentious desserts. As I am not a fan of sugar, I prefer seasonal fruit tarts made with a crust filled with pastry cream and fruit - you can really taste the ingredients.
Is there an ingredient that you especially like working with?
I like working with fish, to name but one.
What can often be found in your 'fridge?
You'll find fish and vegetables.
Leaving aside French, what is your favorite cuisine?
I like to discover new tastes. I am particularly fond of Japanese food for its simple way ingredients are used and the real respect of the taste of the ingredients.
Thank you , Chef, for giving us this interview.
Discover the Cuisine Programmes at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute: