Emmanuel Andrieu is the executive chef at 1899, the resident restaurant at Les Manoirs de Tourgéville Hotel in the upscale seaside resort of Deauville in Normandy, France. We hear from the chef who talks us through how his poor school canteen meals inspired him to be a chef to his love of gardening, Japanese food and the simple ingredient, thyme.
What or who inspired you to become a chef?
There were two experiences when I was younger that influenced my decision on wanting to become a chef:
The meals provided in my school canteen were so bad that my friends and I would often complain about it. There’s no pleasure in eating bad food, and there’s definitely no excuse when you’re surrounded by such great produce.
In contrast to the meals I had at school, growing up I was always inspired watching my grandmothers cook some of the most amazing dishes in their kitchens, watching them pick their own vegetables which they cultivated.
Both experiences in different ways impacted my decision to become a chef.
What’s your signature dish?
I love to barbecue and using this technique creates bold flavours that our customers enjoy. It also creates an interactive atmosphere amongst people. We cook big and beautiful pieces of meat and fish to share, which is ideal for both adults and children. Our menu focuses on Normandy cuisine with a modern twist and I will always use local produce to showcase the very best in the region.
The key to a great barbecue is simplicity. Here are some of my top tips:
1. Use herbs such as thyme and rosemary, as well as garlic to add flavour to your meat or fish.
2. For the sauce to accompany the meat, leave a Camembert to melt in the corner of the BBQ. Alternatively, you can prepare a béarnaise to accompany either meat or fish.
3. To season the meat or fish, you will need fleur de sel, olive oil and pepper.
4. Vegetables to accompany the meat: corn on the cob (children love the sweetness), grilled aubergine, potatoes with a chive cream sauce, courgettes, onions, grape tomatoes and bell peppers.
5. The vegetables can be cooked either on skewers, or in a casserole (as a Ratatouille) seasoned with cumin and basil.
What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?
The most important thing to consider when creating new dishes is ensuring it’s well balanced, and salt is a key ingredient. I am always teaching this principle to our trainees and even to our pastry chefs. Also using a balance of vegetables.
Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?
Yes, I can’t cook what I don’t enjoy eating. I’m very passionate about food and believe this passion will come through in the dishes I create, therefore I have to truly enjoy eating that plate of food before it’s served to our customers.
Do you have a favourite time of year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?
October – as I look forward to fishing scallops, as well as foraging mushrooms.
What is your favourite ingredient?
Thyme – by just using a small amount this versatile herb can really enhance a dish.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
In education and training.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
At home I like to cook dishes that are quick and easy like fried squid.
When are you happiest?
In my garden. I can spend hours after work watering, pruning, planting, and sometimes just contemplating.
When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?
Not in front of the TV. I’m more of an active personality and like to always be doing something.
What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?
I really enjoy eating Japanese food, so a great box of sushi, maki, sashimi and California roll is my go-to choice.
Where is your favourite place to dine?
Michelin starred restaurant, l’Essentiel in Deauville – a contemporary restaurant with Asian influences, it’s both mine and my wife’s favourite restaurant.
Address: 668 Chemin de l’Orgueil – Tourgéville, 14800 Deauville, France
Phone: +33 (0) 2 31 14 48 68