Chef and Gardener Alain Passard on Creativity and Re-Awakening His Sense of Seasons
Alain Passard is a French chef and owner of the three-star restaurant L’Arpège in Paris. Passard plans his menu based on the seasons, sourcing natural and organically-grown products from artisans and farmers.
Passard’s desire to work with quality products led to the creation of three kitchen gardens. The first took root in 2002 in the soil of the Sarthe, the second in 2005 in the Eure and the third in 2008 in the Manche. Three gardens in three different regions giving the respective vegetables a soil-suffused signature: sand in the Sarthe for carrots, asparagus and leeks; clay in the Eure for celeriac and cabbage, and lastly, alluvia in the Manche for aromatic herbs.
How did vegetables awaken your creativity?
There are four seasons each year, so you can create five or six different cuisines. Moreover, I have been having my vegetable gardens for the last ten years, and it made me realize many things. Some 12 or 13 years ago, I would have cooked tomatoes, aubergines and zucchinis all year long, I had completely lost the sense of the season. I could easily find all these vegetables at Rungis (Editor’s note: the market supplying Paris restaurants with fresh food), if I would have asked for peas in December, they would have found them for me…The decision of bringing these two gardens back to life changed my life, my personal life as well, because I found a kind of happiness there. Now there is the idea of a rendezvous, the fact that, when you haven’t touched a tomato for a year, you are happy to see it coming back. — from an Interview HERE.