A TRUE PASSION FOR FOOD,
ITS PROVENANCE AND SEASONALITY
I was born in France in 1976, in a city called Le Mans, where my mother was in charge of the food markets and my father was an electrician. My childhood memories are filled with catching crayfish in the Loire, making potato croquettes with my grandmother Agnes and sitting for hours on end at family lunches.
Cooking is in my blood. My grandfather was a traditional chef and cooked for the then French President, René Coty, and my uncle runs a well-known French restaurant in New York.
I never liked school and quickly decided I wanted to be a chef and travel the world. Following a stint at a local restaurant at the age of 14, where I was helping with the preparation of locally caught river fish, I managed to get a place at a renowned chef school from which I graduated two years later.
BECOMING A CHEF
I started my career as a commis chef working for MasterChef Guy Lemercier in a bistro, the ‘Hippolyte’ in Le Mans, there I learnt the arts of making a sauce and shucking oysters. I learned a great deal and although the work was tough I knew this was the right career path for me.
I moved to the UK where I had planned to learn English and then move to New York to work for my uncle, but instead I worked through the ranks in kitchens throughout England and Scotland and developed a true passion for food, its provenance and seasonality.
My biggest influence was working for David and Helen Everitt-Matthias at the two Michelin starred restaurant, Le Champignon Sauvage, in Cheltenham. I worked for them for two and a half years learning refinement in flavour combination and it was there that I started to understand the importance of keeping calm in the kitchen and respecting the quality of the ingredients.
Following my life changing experience in Cheltenham, I travelled the world and ended up in San Francisco. I worked in San Francisco in a French-Californian bistro where I managed a team of 23 chefs. It was challenging and I loved it, however this was my last job as a chef in a restaurant kitchen.
BAKER TO HEAD OF FOOD DEVELOPMENT
I came back to England two years later and started my own artisan bakery. I have always been passionate about baking and my obsession for croissants sealed the deal. Starting my own business was a steep learning curve and, although I quickly developed a reputation for selling authentic continental breads and pastries, the economic crisis meant I had to move on.
In 2010, after working as a consultant for the Fabulous Baker Brothers and Roger Saul at Sharpham Park Organic, I got a foot in the door working at one of Britain’s largest food manufacturers and started my career in food development, which I have been part of ever since.
I now work as Head of Food Development for Donatantonio, a well-known food importer in Borehamwood. I feel extremely privileged to be part of such an institution; the food is truly amazing and I am able to use my passion for ingredients once again.
The highlight of this amazing journey was meeting my wife Marie-Claire, and we are expecting our first baby in January. She shares my passion for food and I feel like the luckiest man on the planet.