Interviewed July 2008
Jean-Christophe has for some time been a highly respected two Michelin star chef in Lyon, and in 2008/2009 brought his talents to London with Ambassade de l'Ile. He has now returned to Lyon to concentrate on his original restaurant.
Q – How long have you been cooking professionally?
Q – Where did you train to cook?
I trained at Million in Albertville R&C (2 stars), Casino Divonne (1 Star), Orsi Lyon R&C (2 stars), was personal chef to Christina Onassis, then at Lion d'Or Sologne R&C (2 stars).
Q – How would you describe your style of cooking?
Seasonal, respecting the taste of the produce, simple but not simplistic, subtle and contemporary. At the edge of tradition & creation.
Q – Is there a secret for a successful restaurant?
Be at 200% in your kitchen and hope customers will like what you think is right. Treating people working with you like a family.
Q – Do you have a “signature dish” or favourite dish you enjoy cooking?
I like cooking everything. Some are pleasing more than the others. They became "signature" dishes.
Q – Do you have a favourite ingredient?
Which restaurant do you most enjoy eating at on your night off?
Somewhere different from the style of food I am cooking.
What is your most interesting or fun experience from your time in restaurants?
This job is full of interests: hosting customers, relationship with staff, meeting passionate producers, tasting wines, running a business, accepting critics, creation, passion, emotion.
What would be your “last request” dish?
Food is more something you share with someone, so it will be excellent quality but most importantly with superb company.
Is there another chef that you most admire?
A lot in different ways, as Paul Bocuse for his communication, Ducasse for his power, Robuchon for preciseness, Orsi for being a great restaurateur, Didier Clément as he gave me a "déclic" (revelation) with food, but the one I most admire is Bernard Pacaud from l'Ambroisie, as he has always been a 3 star Chef with humility working like an artisan, out of the press spotlight.
Any advice you would give to someone wanting to become a chef?
Work hard. Food is not about learning, food is about understanding.
Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
We are just opening Ambassade. A lot of processes & ideas are on the way. The thing is that people want me to be perfect right from the very start, and it has been a hard job to set up everything in the restaurant. Now, I will have time to be 100% in my kitchen.
Auberge de l'Ile