BENGALURU: I like the way Indian food combines spices with simple dishes in order to sublimate them,” says Nicolas Durif, chef of a Michelin Star restaurant, who was in the city recently to host a curated dinner under the All Things Nice initiative, in association with The Ritz Carlton, Bengaluru. Durif presented his local cuisine – French – and his know-how by working with produce known to Indians. “With this menu, I shared my culinary world, which is flavourful and complex at the same time,” he explains, adding that he is also excited to experience Indian cuisine during his first time in India.
Born in Alsace, France, Durif’s passion for cooking came from his grandmother. He opened his restaurant, L’Hysope, in 2015 and won his first Michelin Star in 2018. “It was a daring bet to set up my restaurant outside the big city, in a small village called La Jarrie, which is slightly hidden from the public. But this place reflects my world and my cuisine and if people keep coming, then that must mean that they feel good about the place,” says the 43-year-old chef, who also pointed out that people expect a lot from you once you are awarded your first Michelin Star. “We no longer have the right to make mistakes. Guests expect good food for the money they spend eating at your restaurant and want to feel a certain emotion when they taste your dishes, which adds on to the daily pressure,” Durif says.
A lover of seafood, Durif and his team in France is always on the move to innovate with this particular area. “We had created a sweet and savoury pre-dessert with an ice cream made from oyster, decorated with a creamy meringue, caviar and algae oil, a bold and subtle mix on its own,” he says. Speaking of food trends around the world, he adds, “The recent trend is to come back to the fundamentals of cooking in each country, with modern techniques. Sustainable cooking had also become an important factor. More and more chefs are adopting the no-waste policy, using all ingredients to cook. Seasonal cooking is also trendy these days.” Giving an insight into the wine culture in France, Durif asserted that the drink remains unavoidable in France. “Everybody enjoys a good glass of wine while eating. When we first opened the restaurant, we presented a luxury beer menu but didn’t enough have interest from guests for this. So we started working on our wine collection, which, at first, had 30 references and today, we have 700 varieties of wine,” he says.