Chocolat Illanka du Pérou by Chef Christophe Hay, H&S Chef Of The Month
H&S Chef Of The Month
La Maison d’à Côté
Interview With H&S Magazine
Who Is Christophe Hay?
I am the chef of La Maison d’à Côté** restaurant, located in Montlivault near le château de Chambord. It’s a two stars Michelin restaurant and we earned the Michelin green star in 2020 to congregate our actions to sustain sustainable gastronomy.
I also have two other restaurants, La Table d’à Côté* in Ardon and Côté Bistro in Montlivault.
Type Of Cuisine?
I am a « terroirist » chef meaning I only cook products which were cultivated nearby my restaurant La Maison d’à Côté. I cook fish from the Loire river, vegetables from my vegetable garden which is located near the restaurant. I also have my own élevage of Wagyu beef.
What Inspired You To Become A Chef?
My childhood is without a doubt what most inspired me to become a chef.
My grandparents lived in a farmhouse. They had their own vegetable garden, hens, ducks which constituted the Sunday meals we shared in the family. Also, my father was a butcher and he taught me how to work with meat. This is the reason why I made the choice to have my own wagyu beef farming.
What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?
Our biggest challenge is to pay attention to each client. We have to be more than attentive in order to provide them the unique moment we promised them.
Being benevolent is our everyday challenge. If we want that our clients remember their moment is our restaurant, so we have to do our best to welcome them in a unique environment.
In all of my restaurants, all the team comes and sees our clients. I choose to be at La Maison d’à Côté in every service in order to greet all the clients and explain to them what they will eat. It’s a little thing that changes their way to see the product.
For example, one day, I had a man who thought that he doesn’t like caviar. I took the time to explain to him how to eat this product and then he discovered the taste. We also know where our products come from, so we can tell the story to our customers. I think this is wealth today.
What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?
I would like to say that my biggest achievement, today, is our two stars by Michelin Guide and my “Cuisinier de l’Année 2021” title by Gault & Millau.
I’m so honored to have these two must-have awards, the two stars as well as my “Cuisinier de l’Année 2021” title. But we always have the will to move forward and to improve ourselves.
The “Cuisinier de l’Année 2021 award comes spontaneously, this is not something we worked for, so it was unexpected and really moving. It’s rewarding all our work and our passion. This is something that makes our stories more beautiful.
When It Comes To Cooking What Is More Important To You The Technique, The Ingredients, Or The Creativity?
Ingredients are the most important things in my cooking.
Well, in fact, the three are important but ingredients are the principal axis of our dishes. We create our dishes by thinking first of the vegetal. Then we think about technique and creativity.
Creativity is important but it often comes before ingredients. I don’t want to work like this because, for me, it’s important to concentrate the work on one product and then associate things around it. We work first on the vegetal and after we associate it a protein but never with excess. Our priority is to work on the real taste of our products.
Recipe Of The Week: Illanka Chocolate From Peru
Garden Goji Berry With Crunchy Oatmeal
• 10g butter
• 10g sugar
• 18g hazelnut powder
• 10g flour
• 4g cocoa powder
The Chocolate Mousse
• 21g whole egg
• 37g egg yolk
• 50g syrup
• 105g chocolate coating
• 115g cream
The Goji Berry Condiment
• 10g dried goji berry
• 10g water
• 3g sugar
• 2g lemon juice
• 2g pectin
The Chocolate Ice Cream
• 100g whole milk
• 25g cream
• 11g sugar
• 25g sucrose
• 4g milk powder
• 1g stabiliser
• 21g black coating
• 7g curry herb
The Crumb Tuile
• 25g flour
• 12g cocoa
• 125g sugar
• 70g lemon juice
• 35g melted butter
The Cocoa Bean Praline
• 125g cocoa beans
• 17g water
• 50g sugar
• A pinch of fleur de sel
Preparation: The Streusel
Using the mixer fitted with a sheet, sift all the powders then add the cold butter. Mix until a sandy texture is obtained. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes in a cool place, then bake for 10 minutes at 165°C. Once the streusel has cooled, set aside in a tightly sealed tin for serving.
Preparation: The Chocolate Mousse
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, whip the cream loosely and then remove it into a bowl for further processing. Whisk the eggs, yolks, and warm syrup together until you have a ribbon-like texture. Mix half of this mixture with the whipped cream. Use the rest to mix in the hot chocolate and bring the two together, taking care not to let it fall apart too much. Put in a bag with a 12mm nozzle and pipe cylinders then set in a cooling cell quickly.
Preparation: The Goji Berry Condiment
Rehydrate the goji berries with water the day before. The next day, blend and add the sifted sugar and pectin. Heat the mixture for about ten minutes and add the lemon juice. Then bring to the boil for about 2 minutes and remove for serving.
Preparation: The Ice Cream
Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan. At 45°C, add the sugar and the milk powder sifted with the stabilizer and the sugar. Bring to the boil and infuse the curry herb for 30 minutes at 85°C. Pour over the chocolate and blend with a hand blender. Mature for 4 hours and then block in a Paco jet bowl. Mix briefly before serving.
Preparation: The Crumb Cake
Sift the powders into a bowl, then add the lemon juice and the melted butter. Leave to cool for 1 hour, then spread evenly with an angled spatula and sprinkle with cocoa nibs. Bake for 8 minutes at 160°C and cut out while still hot to obtain a regular circle. Keep in a dry place.
Preparation: The Praline
Make a caramel with sugar and water. Roast the cocoa beans at 150°C in a dry oven. Then mix the beans with the caramel and spread on a Silpat. Blend once while hot, then cool and blend a second time. Add the fleur de sel and set aside.
Preparation: The Chocolate Decoration
Spread the previously prepared coating on film with a brush and shape it into the desired form using a tube or gutter.
First, cut 4cm tubes of mousse and roll them in the cocoa streusel powder. Place 5 of them on the waist and place chocolate decorations on 3 of the tubes. Then make quenelles of goji condiments. In a small bowl, add some condiments to the bottom in order to place the ice cream quenelle. Place a grué tile on top with goji dots. Heat the praline in a double boiler and pour it onto the plate just before serving, like a sauce.