Michelin-starred French Chef Nicolas Isnard is coming to Abu Dhabi for a three-night pop-up event, where he will bring his love for innovative flavours to guests and residents of the capital from 30 October to 1 November 2019. Yalla caught up with him to learn more about the chef.
Why did you become a chef?
I'm a "foodie." For me, food is a passion since I was young. There is so much to discover!
Do you enjoy Middle Eastern food? What is your favorite food here?
Of course! I'm found of houmous, moutabal, falafel and taboule for sure!
Describe your cooking philosophy?
The product, the product, and the product! I mix my Asian influences with my Mediterranean origin. I really love those products. Of course, we also add a touch of Burgundy, our region. For me, the passion is very important as well. Indeed, passionate cooks bring a good work atmosphere.
What activities do you enjoy doing when you are not in the kitchen?
I'm a simple man, I love to travel and discover other cultures, new countries. For me, curiosity is one of the best qualities you may have. This is really important for a chef. I also love to play poker and read.
What’s been your most unforgettable travel moment involving food?
South East Asian food, more specifically, Asian street food is clearly unforgettable. I don't want to choose only one moment because every new experience is an opportunity.
Who has been your biggest influence?
My mentor Gilles Goujon has been my biggest influence. He truly passed on his passion for cooking to me. Nowadays, we don't share the same philosophy but when I started cooking, he shared with me his passion. My mentor is Alain Ducasse.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
The birth of my two children.
What are the biggest misconceptions out there about fine dining restaurants?
I guess maybe people would say they pay way too much to have a small quantity of food on their plate, but quantity doesn't mean quality. The quality of the dish and the products used are really important for me.
Describe your cooking in the length of a tweet?
My food is sour. My surname in Thailand is Nico "lime.” I love fresh products such as mint, coriander, lemongrass. I need vivacity in my food.
10. If you could cook for anyone in the world (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
Gandhi. I guess he would have thought a lot to me. I would had loved the chance to have an exchange with him.
Book your night with Michelin-starred French Chef Nicolas Isnard from 30 October to 1 November 2019 at The Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi by by visiting www.shangri-la.com/abudhabi or calling 02 509 8900.