Michelin Star chef Daniel Chambon compares the preparation of an ingredient to a woman putting on makeup. If she puts on light makeup, it is her true self. If she puts on heavy makeup, she might look lovely, but it is not her.
|Daniel Chambon, Michelin Star chef
"Instead of making an ingredient stand out, a good chef should let an ingredient's taste stand out by itself," says the French chef.
Gourmets in Beijing were lucky to try what is possibly the world's best black truffle and foie gras at Flo Beijing recently, when chef Chambon visited Beijing from Sept 13-22 to showcase his culinary skills, featuring delicacies from Perigord, France.
Chambon respects natural, quality products, and selects the best of raw ingredients to get the most out of their natural flavor. He believes "the truth is in the plate", and "what is hardest, is to do things simply".
The chef was born in 1949 in the small village of Lachapelle Auzac in Quercy-Perigord. It is a region famous worldwide for truffles, "black diamonds" of French cuisine, foie gras (duck liver), magret de canard (duck steak) and walnuts.
Chambon brought 3 kilograms of black truffle with him from France. Before his visit, he had planned to choose what Chinese customers like to eat to put on the menu, "but it also must be traditional and authentic".
He knew Chinese people do not eat as much salt, so he planned to prepare foods light.
"In fact, I know there are foods Chinese people don't like as much," he says. "But I want to challenge that, and make you like them."
He has been trying everything in China, he says, with the exception of snake and scorpion at the Donghuamen "small food" street for tourists.
He has tried Shunfeng's Cantonese seafood, Da Dong's Peking roast duck and 1949 Duck de Chine. His favorite Chinese foods are chow mein and jiaozi.
Comparing Chinese cuisine with French cuisine, he says both have regional styles and are rich in variety.
"There is a little difference between the gourmet philosophies of the two countries," says Chambon. "French cuisine places more respect for the ingredient, while Chinese cuisine is a bit more complicated in preparation."
The chef said he has noted how closely Chinese people relate specific ingredients with health, which does not happen in France.
Daniel Chambon has a one Michelin star hotel restaurant, Le Pont de l'Ouysse. He was awarded three toques in the Gault et Millau guide in 1995, which recognized him as one of the 12 "Great Chefs of Tomorrow".
"I gained from my mother the passion for cuisine, fresh products, and culinary and original taste which I built with her day by day by helping her in the kitchen during my childhood," he says.