Geeta Bansal Interviews Jean-Luc Rabanel, the Gypsy King of Cuisine in Provence
What meals from your childhood are memorable for you?
The bread toasted in the fireplace grate, just milked fresh milk and allowed to warm, fine notes and varied garden vegetables fresh and crisp .
Every time I visit I am astounded at how you create your menu around a particular product. What inspires your menu everyday?
A product, smell, mood.
What part does humor and whimsy play in your creations?
100% (you have to see him in action to get that).
What reaction are you looking from diners? Is it important to you how they react?
Pleasure is a prerequisite necessary but it is not enough. We want to go beyond each and provoke a series of shocks and surprises that intense as well as ephemeral. Each dish should be an emotion. The introduction of that taste in his (the diner's) last mouthful must plunge the taster in the register of discovery. This discovery we want to renew more than fifteen times per meal. We want to read on faces the impact of our productions: joy, surprise, surprise, excitement, amusement, jubilation, or perplexity.
What makes you happy? I always see you having fun while working and that makes me happy!
What do you think every visitor to Arles must see other than visiting you?
Arenas of Arles, the historic center and its market, one of the most beautiful Provence. (I thought he was going to say himself)
What is your favorite food from your part of Provence?
The variety of fruits and vegetables that the sun of Provence has to offer are many and varied, this is the real treasure for us.
What kind of music do you like and who is your favorite artist?
Johnny Hallyday and Gipsy Music (Chico and the Gypsies)
What advice would you give a young cook?
Patience and passion. Curiosity and intelligence.
Do you offer cooks a chance to do stages or train with you?
Yes I do, of course.
Do you have a rule that you live your life by?
Keep smiling and cheerful no matter what.
Which is the worst vacation you have ever taken and why?
I do not take vacation, so I'm not disappointed ... (Smile)
What is your favorite food in the world?
Pasta may be...
How about opening a restaurant in California? Would you think about it?
No, I think I could not live without my Provence... (He was saying are you kidding, like I would ever leave this heaven on Earth)
If you are in the area, stop by and eat a meal and meet this most creative chef. His food and conversation will put a smile on your face!
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