Chef Eric joined Le Cordon Bleu in 2006. His training and career has been surrounded by some of the most renowned Chefs in the world. Originally from Grenoble in France, Chef Eric started his culinary journey with Chef Jean-Marc Tachet MOF at La Diligence (Morestel). He then worked at Michelin-starred Waldos at Cliveden House and also joined Chef Guy Martin at three Michelin-starred Le Grand Véfour in Paris. But it is with Chef Michel Roux MOF that he has spent most of his career at the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray.
When did you realise that being a chef was your perfect job?
Both sides of my family work in either agriculture or were artisan producers, my father was a cheese maker. Early on I learned how to enjoy products in their purest form, respect nature and recognize the best ingredients. I chose this route and my path never changed.
What are you most passionate about in the food world?
Good food is made foremost with high quality ingredients. You can be very skilled but without knowing how to recognize quality ingredients, and use them without creating waste, it is worthless. I enjoy researching ingredients and learning everything about them.
How did you find the transition from a working kitchen to Le Cordon Bleu?
I came directly from a 3 Michelin starred kitchen, so I had to learn to adapt to this new challenge. For the teaching side you may not realise it but you are always teaching and learning, you’re explaining new ideas to your team, you work alongside amazing chefs who not only enjoy, but thrive on sharing their own knowledge – so in some respects the transition to Le Cordon Bleu gave me the opportunity to progress my career whilst continuing to learn other skills. The incredible thing about Le Cordon Bleu is that it’s always developing while respecting a rich culinary history. I guess it’s a bit like fashion - it moves on but people always look back on this heritage and use it as a source of inspiration for the future.
Who is your food hero?
It would have to be Fernand Point, he was considered to be the father of modern French cuisine in the forties, so he’s quite a figure. He founded La Pyramide in Vienne, trained many top chefs and has written a book called «Ma Gastronomie» which is full of inspirational quotes which are worth reading. I often go back to these and reflect.
The incredible thing about Le Cordon Bleu is that it’s always developing
while respecting a rich culinary history.
Can you offer any words of advice to new students?
Tomorrow is an opportunity to be better than today.
What do you love the most about the culinary scene here in London?
I’ve been here over 20 years and from what I’ve seen, the transformation has been huge! French Chefs are coming here and are recognising that the culinary scene is worth being a part of. The Roux brothers kick started the transformation - with only a couple of Michelin starred restaurants in London and now there are so many new talents that are pushing the boundaries and the people in the UK are enjoying every minute of it!
What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
It would have to be potatoes. They can be made into different forms, any shape and I love cooking with them as well as eating them! I also like how you can produce something quite technical with a potato - some of the things that can be done most people probably wouldn’t have seen before.
Has cooking always been a pleasure for you?
I’ve always cooked for the pleasure of others and still do. I enjoy the performance of cooking great food and the simple reward of making people happy.
Tell us what it’s like to work in a three Michelin starred restaurant
I spent eight years in three Michelin Starred restaurants which we call «Faire les Grande Maisons» in France. By taking this route you know you’re going to work in the best restaurants, work for the best and be among the best. In a three Michelin starred restaurant, you will be working with highly skilled people across the board, from the chefs to the waiting team. The environment in tough and demanding, you must always be 150% committed, expected to strive for perfection on a daily basis and give no less.
Any student that would like to follow this route must have courage and determination! but in saying that I also have some of my best memories from here, it was undoubtedly a tough part of my life, but it should be. Having that kind of experience on your CV opens doors and it holds value and respect, but you have to stay there some time to build those connections for life.