Photos: M. Cintrano, Photographer Philippe Germain, Chef Nenad Stojic
My most recent trip, dedicated to an epicurean escape to Southern France, can be considered anthropological fieldwork of a particularly wonderful type.
Imagine, a small fortified historic town steeped in 9TH Century history, 40 minutes from Port Vieux, Marseille, called Le Salon Du Provençe, France, in December dressed in sparkles and Christmas lights and filled with busy shoppers, bursting with enchantment and the ever so prominent IX century medieval castle, Chateau Du l ´Emperi, perched on the hill above …. A stroll among cobbled lanes and stone archways, a journey back in time.
Join my collaborating French Photographer Philippe Germain and me, as we have lunched in Le Salon Du Provençe. Then, onto Port Vieux, Marseille.
THE KING´s TABLE …
CHEF MATHIAS PÉRÈS shared with us a most unforgettable epicurean experience at a sparkling memorable holiday table arrayed with memorable dishes, a spectacular dessert and sensational wines to pair with each in a Provençal intimate, country rustic, yet contemporary setting which I highly recommend. Noël en Provençe, à table se plonge au Coeur des traditions. This translates to “Christmas in Provençe is enjoying a meal in the heart of traditions.”
35 Rue Du Moulin d´ Isnard
Le Salon Du Provençe, France
Telephone: 00 33 04 42 11 55 40
INTERVIEW FACE TO FACE WITH CHEF MATHIAS PÉRÈS
Margaux: Tell us, where are you from and where did you grow up ?
Mathias: I am from Istréens, with family dating back 15 generations. I grew up and lived in Istréens until I was 18. Then, I relocated to Marseille where I resided for many years. To date, I have been living in Le Salon Du Provençe, and within my heart this is a dynamic and cultural town which I have come to love dearly.
Margaux: What inspired you to become a chef ?
Mathias: The kitchen is a profound part of my family history and my life. Firstly, my great grandfather was Head Cook at The Canteen at Istres Air Force Base and, thus, all the men have cooked in my family including my step-father.
Margaux: Where did you study the culinary arts ?
Mathias: I studied at Lycee Hotelier Marseille Bonneveyne and acquired several degrees, a CAP, a BEP, a BTH, and additionally a Master Sommelier´s Diploma.
Margaux: Who are your mentors ?
Mathias: My love for the culinary arts comes from my family roots, however, a chef taught me a tremendous amount of hands on experience, the rigor of the kitchen, and his name is Chef Sandro Gamba, the former second in command to Michelin Star Chef Joël Robuchan and he was Executive Chef of Restaurant La Cabro d´ Oro at that time. Furthermore, Restaurant A Baumaniére with Chef Jean André Charial, an idyllic location in Provençe.
Margaux: Wow. What is your viewpoint on the palate of women and the palate of a man ? Do you distinguish differences ?
Mathias: This is an extraordinarily interesting question that I have often discussed. In fact, women have a more accurate and sensitive palate than men, more delicate.
Margaux: How do you apply technology to your cuisine ? Which types of Techno Dynamic cuisine do you serve ?
Mathias: My cuisine is essentially based on the product, and independent tastes. I practice LOCAVORE, which translates as exclusively local Provençal. Still, however, I do prepare a molecular dessert called WINK MARIUS FABRE, which is a Marseille cold gazpacho soup and soy lecithin dessert.
Margaux: What role does research and development play in your cuisine ?
Mathias: My hand at research is mainly related to the provisions of the local suppliers and this is the key to my success. The merit of excellent local fresh seasonal product availability. For me and the reputation of LA TABLE DU ROY, the key is the product and essential to fine dining.
Margaux: Who tries a new recipe first ?
Mathias: My wife, my team and I. We have a “ Suggestion Box “ where our clients can leave their ideas and suggestions. We review these.
Margaux: Interesting and quite a clever idea. Chef Mathias. What are some of your ideas on the art of plating ? The dressage ?
Mathias: I have always believed in never hiding and, instead, highlighting the components of each dish.
Margaux: I see that you are involved with biological organic vegetables and fruits. This is magnificent. Could you tell us more about which vegetables and fruits you have been purchasing and / or growing ?
Mathias: Unfortunately, I do not grow my own produce, and I do not possess a green thumb. As a believer in healthy eating, I am working with more and more organic local producers.
Margaux: Tell us about the first dish that you had ever prepared.
Mathias: The first was for my mom and brother during my Culinary / Sommelier Institute years, a roast partridge and the result was quite successful according to them.
Margaux: Gastronomic Dream Trip ?
Mathias: Japan certainly to discover a new culture esthetique and unknown products. Secondly, Australia, to visit two cousin chefs.
Margaux: Tell us about Christmas and the winter season gastronomically in Provençe.
Mathias: Lobster and crustaceans, and truffles. Then there are 13 desserts ! A historical tradition here, drizzled with a glass of mulled wine.
Margaux: Sounds wonderful Chef Mathias and thank you so much for such a memorable lunch.
Margaux: My last question at the moment is, which chefs would you like to collaborate with in the Kitchen ?
Mathias: My dear friend and chef, Julien Diaz, a young dynamic leader and One Michelin Star chef, at Hotel Chez Charles, Restaurant L ´Oggi in Lumio, Corsica.
THE LUNCH CARTE
Divine black olive Tapenade
Foie gras Poêlé, foie gras Mi Cuit, served with Samossa de Chevré goat cheese
Le Plat, large grilled red prawns served with violet cauliflower and seasonal vegetables
Saint Jacques, fresh sea scallops, Le Suggestion du Chef Mathias Pérès
Blue rare filet mignon of beef
La Tradition: Provençal citrus fruits, ruby red grapefruit and navel orange flower served with an array of assorted cheeses from Savoy and sweet breads with butter and crême fraîche and palate cleansing fresh lemon sorbet
Topmost photo (featured image): La Table du Roy’s langoustines
For Part II of MAGICAL MEMORABLE PEOPLE, RESTAURANTS & GLORIOUS FOOD, see elsewhere.
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