He’s come a long way since working in his uncle’s pastry shop in France – all the way to Café Chic at Le Méridien Dubai, in fact. Each year, Michelin Star chef Philippe Gauvreau leaves the renowned ‘la Rotonde’ restaurant in Lyon to present a wine masters club dinner and several cooking demonstrations at the Dubai restaurant. But he also takes the opportunity to launch a brand new menu for local gourmands to degust. Among other things, James Brennan asked him about shouting, motorcycling and his Grandma’s dreadful rice pudding.
How many Michelin stars do you have?
Two Michelin stars.
Where did you win them?
In Lyon, France, Restaurant la Rotonde – one Star in 2000, and the other one in 2004.
What’s your connection with Café Chic at Le Meridien Dubai?
No restaurants in Dubai have been awarded a Michelin star because….
…a Michelin guide does not exist at the moment in Dubai.
When you’re in Dubai, where do you go to relax, let your hair down or party?
Every time I return to Dubai, there is a new café, a new restaurant, something new to experience. I keep trying new places. I also enjoy motor biking in the desert with Chef Pierrick (Executive Chef at Le Méridien Dubai).
What’s your favourite single ingredient and why?
Olive oil, because you can season and cook. It’s an essential ingredient!
Do you shout rude words at your kitchen staff and if so which ones (the words not the staff)?
I do not shout at any of my team, I speak to them. It is very important to create motivation and positive energy. ‘Action’ is one word that I use to generate this atmosphere.
Which country produces the best cooks in the world?
Each country has its technical culinary qualities, which create distinctiveness in the cuisine. France was known for having the best chefs in the world, and today – thanks to individuals like Paul Bocuse who opened the doors of culinary art to the world – there is international recognition of this talent .
What’s the best meal you ever ate, and the worst?
The worst meal is my Grandmother’s rice pudding. The best meal is my Grandmother’s ‘Blanquette de veau’ (veal stew).
Tell us about Café Chic’s new menu for this season.
The menu brings with it new flavours, scents, perfumes and colours. I have listened to all of the comments and feedback received from our guests and I have been inspired by them to elaborate the selection according to their taste and culinary desires.
Philippe Gauvreau will be at Café Chic from Jan 27 until Feb 1. The wine masters dinner will take place on Jan 27, and will cost Dhs490 per person. Cooking demonstrations take place on Jan 29 and 30, and cost Dhs140 per person. Please call 04 282 4040 for reservations.