Interview: Chef Laurent Peugeot: I want to introduce ‘bistronomy’

Chef Laurent Peugeot

The Burgundy-based French chef who’s making waves with his unique blend of French-Japanese cuisine was in Mumbai for a pop-up at JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu

 

My earliest food memories are of my grandfather and grandmother…
Every morning we’d wake up at 6am and pick tomatoes and potatoes from our garden. Later, I would cook with my grandfather.

French and Japanese are the major food influences for me…
Fifteen years ago, I worked in Japan for four years. I then started using Japanese produce in Burgundy in France. Diners used to think I was crazy because I integrated the flavour and technique of Japanese cuisine with French food. It was unusual, still is, but it’s easier to try new things now.

I see inspiration everywhere I go…
In local markets, when I watch people eat…

When I travel, I bring back things like plates…
I like to pick these up from different countries for my restaurant from local glassware shops where people usually buy crockery for their homes.

I’ve eaten so many strange things over the years…
Scorpions, big spiders, even monkey brain; it’s a little like beef! I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on holiday, staying with a family. I was served a dish that looked like some sort of a pasta salad. Suddenly, I saw an ant on my plate. I put it aside. As I continued eating, another ant appeared, which too, I pushed aside. My friend saw me doing that and asked why I was putting all those ants aside while eating the eggs – they turned out to be ant eggs! I finished my meal somehow, but today, I’d go back to eat those ant eggs – they were really good! Just try not to think about what you’re eating. In Koh Samui I’ve eaten maggots and really small scampi alive – they’re just put into a bag with lime juice, lemongrass, kaffir lime, cloves and ginger, mixed and eaten.

I want to set up a restaurant in Asia…
There are so many opportunities here. At 41, I’m not done. My work is my passion. I want to introduce new concepts in food, not just fine dining, but ‘bistronomy’ as well.

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