COOKING: A BIZET FAMILY LEGACY
I come from a family who cook a lot and have always paid a lot of care and attention to choosing where they source their meat from - even producing their own to ensure that the animals are treated well and the meat is of the best quality. Choosing to become a chef was happened completley naturally because I've always liked good food.
It makes me really respect where I source ingredients from and which ingredients I use in my own kitchen. For me, cooking is a passion - the cooking, picking fresh ingredients from the garden… it’s all something to look after and protect… not only to ensure that the ingredients are of a good quality but also to ensure that they are sustainable. The new trend in cooking is about having vegetables fresh from the kitchen’s own garden, real farms etc. but, for me, I was always doing that from childhood. It’s the way I grew up.
MY FAMILY ARE MY BIGGEST INFLUENCE. WE ALL LOVE TO COOK AND ARE VERY COMPETITIVE TOO
My entire family loves to cook so, on special occasions (e.g. Christmas), we each bring a different dish to share. It can become very competitive because we’re all so passionate about food and ingredients but it’s a lot of fun. We ask each other what they think of the dish and let’s just say we’re all very straight forward so you definitely get to hear the truth haha but, honestly, it’s a lovely traditional for us. We love to share food and it’s a nice way of showing we care. This year, I made lobster with a South American sauce. It really showcased the quality and deliciously fresh flavour of the lobster well, and everything highlighted the love of the very simple products. It’s a simple recipe but delicious.
ACCOMPLISHING MY GRANDMOTHER’S LIÈVRE Á LA ROYALE
I loved my Grandmother and her Lièvre á la Royale is the closest dish to my heart. It’s a fantastic dish. My Grandmother was always cooking it when I was a child and I always wanted to learn how to cook it. I wondered to myself ‘How the hell does she manage to do it?’ Then, a few months ago, there was the Lièvre á la Royale World Championship and I won. I was so happy. It’s a beautiful story.
THE FOUR SEASONS GEORGE V: MY 2ND FAMILY
The first chef who really influenced me was a chef who worked at Le Cinq, here at The Four Season’s George V Hotel, dozens of years ago. He had 3 Michelin stars and taught me all of the techniques of French cuisine but we also shared a lot of passions like hunting so we had more in common than just the teaching. It was very important to me so I try to pass it on to my own chefs.
However, in terms of what matters most to me as a chef, it’s not someone, but somewhere. It’s Le Cinq restaurant which sits alongside my restaurant, L’Orangerie, here at George V hotel. I spent 17 years of my life working in the kitchen there and have some great memories; I’m completely devoted to it. It’s one of the things that made it so special for me when I was offered Chef Patron at L’Orangerie alongside it. George V hotel is like my home – a house that gave me a lot and I want to give back. That’s what motivates me.
MY COOKING STYLE: MODERN FRENCH CUISINE DESIGNED TO GIVE PLEASURE
As chefs, we bring what’s best to our eyes and our stomachs and love to watch people enjoy our food. It’s all about sharing and caring. People connect together through food… sharing memories, flavours, experiencing different taste, texture and flavour sensations…. It’s a very emotionally related experience.
IF YOU ONLY EAT 1 DISH AT L'ORANGERIE, IT HAS TO BE...
I love the poached egg with caviar and watercress becasue it's what started the whole menu for L'Orangerie. The dish has the perfect balance between flavours and textures, and is made from beautifully fresh ingredients. Plus, I really love the combination of the salty flavours of the caviar, the peppery flavours of the watercress and the earthiness of the wheat, balanced with the creaminess of the egg.
MY FAVOURITE POSITION IN THE KITCHEN
For me, being the ‘orchestra master’ in the kitchen is important but something matters more to me and that’s staying in the kitchen and cooking by myself because, first, I love it, but also because it enables me to experience what my guests feel day after day after day.
MY ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD
My comfort food is a little bit unusual. My idea of comfort food is a daily challenge... Opening the fridge and pantry, checking everything in them and trying to mix and match the random selections. It makes me more daring than if I was in the kitchen. I can concoct weird combinations and try new things. It’s a way of testing myself, keeping my skills and palate on point and I have a lot of fun too. It’s important because when I have guests with allergies or intolerances, or who can’t eat certain dishes, I want them to enjoy themselves at L’Orangerie and enjoy my food so I have to be able to think on my feet and create a dish there and then. This helps me to create fresh and interesting dishes for them, just like that.
Really, comfort food is like training for me. It allows me to be more accurate and reactive; and is how I’m able to be consistently creative, even under pressure.
I like La Marlotte - a French bistro on the 8th arrondissement. My friend owns it so I love spending time there when I can, both for the food and personally. I have some great memories there.
David Bizet is the Executive Chef at Michelin-starred L’Orangerie restaurant at The Four Season’s George V Hotel, Paris.