Sandre de Loire 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: Pike-Perch From The Loire River
Elderberry | Garden Carrots | Lichen
• 1 pike-perch of 3 to 4 kg
• 2 litres of water.
• 400g sea salt.
• 200g sugar
• 1 clove of garlic, Thyme, bay leaf, juniper berries, coriander seeds.
The Carrot Garnish
• 10 beautiful carrots with leaves
• 5 pieces of round carrot
• 5 kg of carrots
• 100g butter
The Elderberry Condiment
• 200 g elderberries
• 2kg of carrots
• 1 onion
• 3kg of carrot
• 20g of lichen
• 1 litre of fish stock
• 300g butter
The Finishing Touches
• 100g of lichen
• A few nice carrot tops
• A few fresh elderberries
Preparation: The Pike-Perch
Scale and gut the pike-perch. Lift the fillets and carefully remove the bones. Remove the skin, then put the fillets in brine for 15 minutes. Rinse them in clean water. Dry each fillet, then roll it in cling film, skin side down, to obtain a regular cylinder. Cook the fillets for 12 minutes at 60°C in a steamer and then cool. Then cut into 60 g cylinders. They will be reheated in the steamer before serving.
Preparation: The Carrot Garnish
Use a mandolin to cut fine shavings from the round carrots, which will be set aside in ice water for the dressing. Peel the carrots, taking care to keep 1 cm of the stalks. With the rest of the large carrots, make a juice in a centrifuge. Then, in a round bowl, combine the carrots, the carrot juice, and the butter to cook them in their own juice. Check regularly to make sure they are melting. Once cooked, remove them from the pan and reduce the cooking juices to make a glaze for the carrots. Set all these preparations aside.
Preparation: The Elderberry Condiment
Peel the onion and carrots and chop finely. Sweat the onion, then add the carrots and elderberries. Cook gently over low heat. Once the carrots are cooked, blend with the Thermomix to obtain a smooth creamy mixture. Do not hesitate to add carrot juice if necessary to adjust the texture. Strain this creamy mixture through a sieve, season, and keep in a pipette for garnishing.
Preparation: The Sauce
The day before, plunge the fresh lichen into boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain. Leave to dry overnight at room temperature. In a saucepan, combine the peeled and chopped carrots and the fish stock. Cook them all and add the dry lichen. Mix to obtain a thick sauce and mix with cold butter. Season and set aside for the dressing.
Make a lichen powder by cooking the lichen in boiling water for 3 minutes and then dehydrating it. Mix the dried lichen to obtain the finest powder possible. Prepare a few beautiful carrot shoots for decoration in iced water.
First, place the lichen powder on the right side of the plate with a fine sieve. Then place the warmed carrot in its lacquer on top. On the carrot, place dots of elderberry condiment and a few fresh elderberries at regular intervals. Use the carrot shavings to add volume to the dish and finish with some carrot leaves. Finally, place the hot pike-perch on the left side of the plate and cover it with the hot sauce at the last moment.