Posted 13 November 2005 - 07:03 PM
What a great question [as they say!]
Ok, I definitely do see a continuum but my emphasis is on the traditional.
Still I don't feel I can ignore the modern contributions of some of the brilliant chefs such as Michel Bras who use traditional ingedients of their regions (in his case, the Auvergne), in new and startlingly fascinating ways.
As you know, I'm very selective. There're lots of new chef's dishes being served in SWF, but only a few interest me. I still prefer a connection to the traditional woman's cooking, which I think of as "the base."
I feel that important technical breakthroughs such as sous vide cannot be ignored and I present a few recipes where I think the idea works well. The duck confit for cassoulet is a perfect example because the chunks of boned duck are baked for a
second long cooking and remain flavorful and moist.
But in the end it's the home cooking tradition that I love, which led me to chefs such as Lucien Vanel (my absolute favorite!) who raised his mother's cooking at an incredible level. I can see why some would be troubled by my combination of old and new dishes, but, to paraphrase DeGaulle (who said of his enemy, Sartre: "Sartre too is France"), these new dishes too are of the South-West.
“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.