H&S Chef Of The Month: Meet Chef Christophe Hay From France
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: Carpe de Loire à la Chambord
Truffe | Crayfish | Cheverny Wine Sauce
Serves: 4 People
• 1 large carp
• 50g of the smoked belly from Gascon pork from our farm
• 40g of Tuber melanosporum truffles
• To serve: butter, wild geranium sprouts
The Carp Dumplings
• 300g of carp meat
• 1.5 egg
• 7g of crayfish bisque
• 6g of fine salt
• 6g of sugar
• 12g of butter
• 160g of milk
• 120g of cream
• 1 bunch of chives, Timut pepper, 25 g of chopped Tuber melanosporum truffle
• 500g of button mushrooms
• 1 shallot
• 50g of butter
• Lemon juice
• 100g of firm button mushrooms
• 25cl of white chicken stock
• 3cl of lemon juice
• 1 bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, parsley stems).
• 25g of butter
• 2g of salt
Cheverny Wine Sauce
• 1L of Cheverny red wine
• 70g of sugar
• 1L of fish stock
• 1L of liquid cream
• 100g of butter
• 4 Loire crayfish
• An aromatic garnish: carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf
• 100g of water
• 15g of flour
• 75g rapeseed oil
• 7g of mushroom powder
Preparation: The Carp & The Quenelle Device
Scrape, empty the carp, and lift the fillets. In the belly, cut pretty studs lengthwise and keep them cool. Cut the truffles into 3 mm thick slices and cut them into 1 cm rounds. Chop the trimmings. Finely mix the carp meat with the eggs, bisque, salt, and sugar. Heat the butter until it is nutty. Add it to the stuffing with the milk and the cream to obtain a very smooth mixture. Pass through a sieve and dispose it in a cul-de-poule. Add the chopped chives, a pinch of Timut pepper, and the chopped truffle. Place the appliance in a pastry bag fitted with a smooth nozzle. Let cool, then pocket even cylinders and roll each one in cling film. Cook them in a steam oven at 80 ° C for 10 minutes. Cut them into slightly beveled cylinders 2 cm in length.
Preparation: The Mushroom Duxelles
Trim, wash, and drain the button mushrooms. Chop them up. Finely chop the shallot and sweat it with the butter. Add the mushrooms and lemon juice. Keep on high heat until the duxelles loses its first water. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and cook over low heat until all the water has evaporated. Film on contact, and keep cool.
Preparation: Button Mushrooms
Cut off the stems of the button mushrooms. Wash them carefully and cook them in the white stock with the lemon juice, the bouquet garni, the butter, and the salt.
Head and caster the crayfish. Prepare a court-bouillon with the aromatic garnish, let it simmer for a few minutes then cook the crayfish in it at a boil for 1 minute 30. Remove them with a skimmer, immerse them in ice water and then peel them. the. Reserve in the fridge.
Preparation: The Smoked Bacon
Cut the bacon into sections 5 cm wide and 10 cm long. Cut it into 1 cm rectangles.
Preparation: Cheverny Wine Sauce
Reduce the wine over low heat in a very large saucepan. When it acquires a syrupy consistency, add the sugar and simmer for 1 minute to dissolve it. At the same time, reduce the fish stock by ¾ then add the cream and reduce by half. At the moment, whisk in the butter, add 70 g of this reduction to the creamy stock, then adjust the seasoning.
Preparation: Mushroom Tiles
Mix all the ingredients until you obtain a smooth mixture. Reserve it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Place tiles 4 cm in diameter on a hot non-stick pan. Dispose of them on a tube to give them the desired shape.
Count three button mushrooms, a carp goujonnette, a carp quenelle, and a crayfish tail per person. Roast the carp goujonnettes unilaterally in a pan and heat the quenelles in a steamer basket over low heat. Glaze the button mushrooms and crayfish tails in butter. Heat the mushroom duxelles and bind them with a small knob of butter. Roast the pieces of smoked bacon and cut them into thin slices. On the right side of each deep plate, place a quenelle of mushroom duxelles. Top with a roasted carp dumpling, then, on the other side, the carp dumpling cylinder. Place two strips of smoked bacon and the button mushrooms harmoniously on the goujonnette, in the center of the plate. Then delicately place the truffle rings. Place the crayfish tail on the quenelle of duxelles. Place a mushroom tuile and two wild vesse shoots on the quenelle, then serve with the sauce to pour at the last moment.