Gastronomy  An interview with Nicolas Isnard, a Michelin Starred French Chef (Part 2)
22/07/201900:00 TV5MONDE


TV5MONDE. – I meet you today in Hong Kong, but you are touring in Asia at the moment?

Nicolas ISNARD. - I finish! We just did three weeks in China.

As I watched your calendar, so I knew that you went to Bali in spring, Bangkok in November.
Bali in June. September and November in Bangkok. In Chang Mai, where we have our restaurant, in September and November as well. I was in Qatar in October. Then, here (Hong Kong), where I finish my journey! We were in Sanya and Haikou. So, we end with Hong Kong this time.



Then, will you go back to your restaurant near Dijon?
After the tour, I will stay in my restaurant (Dijon), and I will not leave until the end of March. I will spend three months at home. Then, I will come back here, to Hong Kong. I will have a small trip to Singapore for a duo with a friend. And then, I go to Chang Mai again to see my restaurant.



If I come back on your journey, you won the Gault & Millau Guide’s young talent award at the age of 27, worked with some world-famous chefs like Gilles Goujon and received your first Michelin star before 30. You also opened several restaurants around the world.
What is your next step? Do you aim at obtaining your second Michelin star?

If you have asked me the question 10 years ago, I would say yes. If you ask me again today, I will still say yes. Between the two, there was passion and youth; we are entrepreneurs. So, we did various and varied things. We opened restaurants and had fun.
I am associated with David Le Comte, who is my best friend, my brother, my right arm, my left arm and my brain. I am the same for him. We have been working together for 15 years. Initially, the idea of the association was not to get stuck behind the stove. It turns out that he is no fan of travelling. So, he prefers to let me do it. And, I am having fun in what I do.
As I said, we started in Burgundy while trying to make Burgundy cuisine. We were not Burgundians. So, it was not a natural cuisine for us. Ten years later, we make a cuisine that tells our own story. Both of us are from Provence. We arrived in Burgundy together. And today, with my travels, I bring a little Asian touch. Now, we have a real identity in what we do. We have a guideline in dishes, in associations, always a bit of sharpness that marks our cuisine and that is significant in what we do.
Today, we are more mature than ten years ago and can strive for the second star, because we have grown up and we are stable. Less “crazy” than before, and we conduct projects differently.
After years abroad, we have lots of projects in the pipelines. There will be a restaurant opening in Vietnam at the end of 2019. The continuity in Chang Mai, where we have had a great year.
So here it is! Openings projects, desire and ambition to obtain a second star. I only wish to be happy. If this is not the case, then it is not that bad!



When a chef like you that has gone beyond the "crazy" period and become mature... Are you still looking for inspiration?
Always! Always! Not necessarily looking for inspiration, but the curiosity to see what others do. It is all about exchanging and sharing. The day I do not do it anymore, it would mean I no longer enjoy. I am a "Foody", so, I always eat in restaurants, and I have fun while talking to other chefs. Inspiration is everywhere, we can work on a colour, a season or a country. The themes are different.
The purpose, is you, what is your line? For us, it is more about sharpness. We work with about fifteen different kinds of vinegar and citrus fruits. Our cuisine is marked by this: the freshness and the "pep's" that we can put in the plates.


To read part 1 of the interview, click here

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