Hi Valentine, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Valentine Guenin, I studied cooking in Nantes and discovered a love of produce and signature cuisine alongside Dominic Quirke at Pickles.
Can you tell us in a few words where your passion for cooking comes from?
I come from a single-parent family, my mother needed help and little by little I slipped into the kitchen to help her but above all to do us good. As a child, I loved making cheese soufflés and gougères.
Tell us about your inspirations. What stimulates your creativity in the kitchen / makes you want to be active behind the stove?
First the product, I need to visualize the material before thinking of a dish, not the other way around. If I'm in a restaurant with a team, it's the desire to make dishes that suit us, that make us proud, to try to achieve things that we don't necessarily master at the beginning and in the end, by dint of reflection and perseverance, do them naturally. If I do a performance as part of a chef at home, I really try to please the guests, to make them experience an exceptional moment that they will not forget.
Your biggest failure in the kitchen, do you want to tell us about it?
Olala yes, it was 5 years ago, I was having a test in a restaurant to be a chef at lunch, nothing was going well, I was a real headless hen and I made a disgusting blanquette, I was annoyed as hell lice. Review of the races I was still taken but my colleagues at the time are still laughing at me today 🥴
Do you have a secret cooking tip to share with our community?
Oh but I have no secret, I would simply say that for a pearly cooking of white fish fillet, salt should be 1% of the weight of the fillet on the flesh side (always keep the skin on), take out the said fillet at room temperature before to color it in a very hot frying pan adapted to its size because if the frying pan is too large the oil smokes and if it is too small I let you guess. It is also necessary to put a weight on the fish at the beginning of cooking so that the skin does not retract and is well colored and crispy. When you reach 2/3 of the cooking time, stop the fire and wait to see the pearliness without touching the beast.
Can you tell us about the importance of the choice of utensils in the kitchen?
It makes life so much sweeter to be well equipped, let's take the example of a knife, what a pleasure to chop shallots or herbs with a very sharp knife. Conversely, when working with the equivalent of a butter knife, everything becomes painful and dangerous, the body gets tired and the head too.
What is your greatest table memory or the most moving?
At the big table: La Grenouillère at Mr Alexandre Gauthier. In large table by the heart and the madness of the guy: The den in Bidart which unfortunately closed, but I love you Luke Dolphin!
It makes life so much sweeter to be well equipped, let's take the example of a knife, what a pleasure to chop shallots or herbs with a very sharp knife.
Do you have any favorite addresses to share with us (restaurant, grocery store, shop, etc.)?
Favorite restaurant of the moment: Soces! . For groceries there are many and I am not very faithful, I will only mention Satio in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. Otherwise my favorite Cellars: Here Even in the 11th / Substrates in the 19th / Crus and discoveries in the 11th.
Can you tell us about your next projects or desires for the future?
I can only speak of one of them, the opening of a friend's restaurant in St Gervais sur Mar in the Herault, I will crack down on it in the spring! Come many!
Are there any products that you particularly love to work with? A favorite season?
I love fish, shellfish and crustaceans. I think a lot about becoming a vegetarian and that's why I give up... Otherwise I have a fairly clear passion for vegetables. No favorite season for products I invite you to read Nagori by Ryoko Sekiguchi.
As a professional chef, do you like to cook so much when you're at home with your family?
It's obvious even if I love to dine out to discover the Parisian nuggets that grow in all directions. Cooking with family or friends is also about getting together, disconnecting, and sharing memories. In general, evenings start in the kitchen, and very often end in the kitchen. That's what I like, it's a place of life and rich experiences.