I ALMOST BECAME A SCIENTIST
I wasn’t supposed to become a chef. Growing up in France, my parents were scientists so it happened by chance. Perhaps it was fate because, at the beginning of my career, I was lucky enough to meet some really inspiring chefs. They were a massive influence on me; so passionate and encouraging. I already really loved cooking but seeing their passion awakened the same feelings in me. That’s when I realized that this could be my job.
I LOVE ALAIN DUCASSE. HE FLAMES MY PASSION FOR VEGETABLES, CRESSES & HERBS.
I worked with a lot of famous chefs in France who really inspired me, both in their attitudes and in the way they treated ingredients… Éric Fréchon, Yannick Alléno, Jean-François Piège… - I couldn’t say one name in particular, although I do love Alain Ducasse. He has a great sense of humour and we share the same values. It’s probably why one of my biggest passions in cooking today are fresh, seasonal vegetables and why I place a big importance on establishing good relationships with the suppliers. I especially love all of the cresses and herbs you can find. They’re amazing and you see them a lot in my dishes.
MY COOKING STYLE IS LIKE ME: FRESH, VIBRANT & DOWN TO EARTH
I suppose there are 3 main aspects about my cooking style. I would describe it as…
ROSEWOOD LONDON: A GREAT ATMOSPHERE – RELAXED, MODERN, LUXURIOUS & FRIENDLY. MY STYLE.
I’ve been at The Mirror Room for 3 years now. I was working in Paris when I received a call from Michael Kaesemann, one of the Directors at Rosewood London, about the opportunity. We met and I had a really good feeling about working here.
I really like meaning of the brand: to offer luxury hospitality in a relaxed, modern way. They’ve achieved the perfect balance between stunning attention to detail and a casual, friendly environment that people enjoy being in. I also get to work with some really great and talented people.
COOKING IN CASTLES & PALACES
Being a chef has given me access to some incredible places. I’ve met so many incredible people and I’ve cooked for some stunning dinners. One of my favourites was at a huge building in Paris called Le Panthéon. Architecturally, it’s beautiful and they have a stunning glass dome roof. It was for a special charity dinner to raise money for the progression of cancer treatments and research. I love cooking in castles and palaces too…. I’ve been really lucky.
IF YOU ONLY TRY 1 DISH AT THE MIRROR ROOM, IT HAS TO BE…
We do a really nice onion and squash fresh ravioli. We use the best ingredients in season, simply cooked. It’s super simple… it’s just onions, squash, butter and sage but the taste is just amazing.
MY FAVOURITE POSITION IN THE KITCHEN
I love to be hidden in a corner. Just find a wall and keep an eye on everything that goes on inside the kitchen. You can see people, how they behave, how they interact with each other... I really love it; or, if I’m active, I love the hot section. I know it can sound a bit boring to a lot of young chefs but I love working with cress and salad and things like that.
MY ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD
I rarely have time to cook for myself but I do love pastas and soups. Whenever you’re really hungry, pasta is always super quick. All you have to do is see whatever’s left in your fridge and you can build up a delicious recipe quite easily. I love pasta, butter, truffle oil and Parmesan. It’s just perfect.
UNUSUAL COOKING TIP
Whipped egg whites... I remember that, when I was younger, my mum used to tell me to add a bit of salt to them and, actually, it doesn't do anything at all but what works is sugar. The sugar melts and gives your egg whites a better texture so that they last longer. The texture becomes more stable, resembling a soft meringue.
When I'm not working, I love visiting Mercato Metropolitano. It's a great place to go with friends. Super casual. You go in, grab one drink here, one pizza there and there's something for everybody. I also love Borough Market - they have stunning breads - and Frenchie's, Covent Garden. There are so many great places to go.
Amandine Chaignot is the Executive Chef at The Mirror Room restaurant in Rosewood London Hotel.