Nathalie Beauvais, chef and owner of her own restaurant Le Jardin Gourmand in Lorient in the region of Brittany in France is coming to Australia, and specifically Adelaide for the Adelaide French Festival this weekend.
At the Adelaide French Festival, Nathalie will be both leading a cooking class in an event called A Taste of Brittany and preparing a meal for your enjoyment at one of the highlight events of the Adelaide French Festival: Bon Vivant. At Bon Vivant you will have SBS’s Food Safari Maeve O’Meara as your host and sounds will be provided by French ensemble La Nuit Blanche from Melbourne.
Here’s what’s on the menu that Nathalie Beauvais is preparing for Bon Vivant:
Barramundi rillettes with curry and aromatic’s herbs
Southern Rock Lobster on celery and apple puree
Kinkawooka Mussels on zucchini puree with mint
Harris Smoked salmon served with carrots, cauliflower, coriander and wakamé seaweed
Braised Market Fish with fine ratatouille
Vanilla white cheese on Adelaide Hills apple marmalade with mango coulis
Mount Compass Strawberry tart on caramelised dentelles crepes
Nathalie Beauvais, you are chef and owner of your own restaurant Le Jardin Gourmand in Lorient in Brittany why and when did you decide that you wanted to be a chef?
I’ve always liked cooking and when I had to choose my post school studies at the age of 18 I decided to orient my studies towards cooking in order to open my own restaurant.
The kitchen is always been my favourite place in the house even for doing my homework my favourite moments in the house or take place around the table. As a young child I loved going grocery shopping and cooking with my mum the choice of my profession orientation it was therefore not very complicated.
You worked in the big Parisian restaurants l’Aquitaine with Christiane Massia and le Carre des Feuillants d’Alain Dutournier. What are the most important things that you learnt there?
I realised that it was a physical job and that you shouldn’t be clumsy.
I’ve also learnt to be patient and resourceful. Then of course there is also the learning of technical skills takes place over a number of years and even still today.
Refining a palette also doesn’t take place in a single day. Cooking and tasting dishes each time allowed me to memorize the tastes and to imagine recipes as well as to have a critical sense.
You’re coming to Australia for the Adelaide French Festival this month where you will lead us on a culinary journey across your region of Brittany. Are the dishes that you are going to prepare for us in bon vivant and teach us how to make in A Taste of Brittany are the same ones that you serve in your restaurant Le Jardin Gourmand?
The recipes are the same but I’m going to adapt them to your products after having discovered them I don’t really know the material the work space and the team so given all of that I’m going to have to adapt and to exchange… that’s also the good thing about my job: the surprises, the meetings, the exchanges,the sharing.
Being by the sea Brittany’s cuisine is very focused on seafood and fish is there a typical dish from Brittany that we don’t find elsewhere in France?
With my transport I think that all of Brittany’s dishes are edible in France however their freshness will make the difference. For example lobsters cooked just after coming out of the water only exist in Brittany.
What do vegetarians or those who are allergic to seafood or fish eat in a region in which those two foods are the norm?
Brittany is a region which is also very rich in vegetables and pulses and they are also more and more cheeses… therefore no problem
What’s your favourite Breton dish to prepare?
The dish would depend on the season the weather and my mood. so long as the products are local and of good quality, I’m in! However I like cooking meat less and I especially don’t like cooking gizzards that I also don’t like to eat.
And what is your favourite Breton dish to eat?
That depends on the season the weather and my mood apart from gizzards I like everything and especially when the products are of good quality and are local, that the chef has put love in his or her cooking and I can enjoy the dish with good friends.
If your last meal what would you eat?
A good sourdough bread with good salted butter and living lobsters cooked the most naturally way possible (in salted water) and I would finish my meal with a piece of far breton aux pruneaux!
Why should people come along to Bon Vivant at the Adelaide French Festival?
To share a moment of happiness around Brittany’s cuisine adapted to your produce.
And why should people come along to A Taste of Brittany at the Adelaide French Festival?
To travel without taking a plane and leave for a few days holidays on the other side of the planet.
Have you ever been to Australia before?
No, never… it’s very, very far!
Is there anything else you would like to add ?
I’m lucky to have been chosen I accepted to participate in the festival without any hesitation because I am always curious and delighted by experiences which enrich all of us in sharing cooking and cuisine. The pleasure of la table (the table) is a very important value in France and it brings together everyone and all cultures.
We are always learning and these exchanges nourish our spirits with the happiness of sharing. I like my region and I like sharing through cooking. similarly I love discovering other regions and other products which open me up to new horizons for discovery and for future creation… It’s really “TROP MAD”!
* MAD in Breton means “good” and “crazy” but for everyone else… it’s amusing…
A Taste of Brittany is now sold out. More information about the show is available here.
Very few tickets remain for Bon Vivant so get in quick! You can purchase them for $150 here.
What’s your favourite French/Breton dish?