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What does Anne want to change in the nation’s food habits?
- It is important to encourage people to eat in restaurants.
- It is important to begin national food habits at school.
- It is important to consume a lot of vegetables.
Presenter: Today in our studio we have a French chef Anne Pic, who represents the most recent generation of one of France’s most prestigious cooking dynasties. In 2014 she was named World’s Best Female chef. Good afternoon, Anne!
Anne Pic: Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Presenter: What are your earliest food memory and your favourite dishes from childhood?
Anne Pic: I have so many food memories that it is very hard to answer your question. Rather than the product, I remember moments I spent with people I loved that are associated with food. For example, when I was a little girl, I went on Sundays with my grandfather to pick wild mushrooms or strawberries in the countryside. My mother was a very good cook. I liked her beetroot salad and her wonderful roast chicken.
Presenter: How did your childhood, with you being the daughter and grand-daughter of great chefs, infl uence your great love of and passion for cooking?
Anne Pic: In my family, we didn’t eat because we had to but for pleasure. My life was given rhythm by the services we provided and we had very little time to be a family because the restaurant was open very often. But there was a moment we all spent together every day: at dinner.
Presenter: Anything you learned then that you still consider useful today?
Anne Pic: The values taught by my father: never forget where you come from, stay sincere, whatever you achieve.
Presenter: Is it really true that you had no formal training in cooking? If so, how did you learn?
Anne Pic: Yes, it is! I studied for five years at a business school in Paris. Then, when I was 23, I decided to learn cooking with my father. Unfortunately, he died suddenly just two months after I came back home. So, I had to learn by myself. And it took time.
Presenter: Do you believe that every young chef starting out today needs formal training?
Anne Pic: Yes, it is important to learn the basis of French cuisine.
Presenter: Three short pieces of advice for young female chefs out there?
Anne Pic: I would tell them to believe in themselves, to follow their dreams and intuitions.
Presenter: Your fascination with Japanese culture has led to a passion for tea drinking. Which other aspects of Japanese culture and cuisine can we all learn from?
Anne Pic: Japanese cuisine is just wonderful and a source of inspiration for me. Dashi, kombu, sake paste are some of the ingredients I often use in my cuisine.
Presenter: What are the most important ingredients that a chef can have?
Anne Pic: Butter, pepper and salt, aromatic herbs.
Presenter: Favourite vegetable?
Anne Pic: I like all the vegetables, in particular the forgotten or underappreciated ones such as beetroot, turnip and cabbage.
Presenter: What dish best sums up your culinary secrets?
Anne Pic: The pansoti, filled with soft, lightly smoked bacon. This dish is very symbolic of my cuisine. I wanted to create pasta with a unique fl avour, colour and shape that would recall the regional taste. The innovation of this dish lies in the shape of the pansoti, which guarantees a good balance between the quantities of pasta and filling, and yields a soft and creamy filling.
Presenter: And finally, you are granted three wishes to change gastronomic life — the nation’s food habits — in France. What would they be?
Anne Pic: You know, I think that you don’t need any magic wand to change the world. It’s with small daily movements that everyone can have a better life. I think we do have the responsibility as chefs to encourage people to consume fresh, local and seasonal products. Education starts at school and I wish there could be some tastings made for children to teach them how to feed themselves.
Presenter: Thank you, Anne.