Le Suquet Laguiole - FRANCE
Bras with an S as in Sébastien
"I have always lived in the kitchens of the family restarant. I entered them on the day my parents returned from the maternity ward!" relates Sébastien Bras. More than a heritage, it is also his natural playground
"As I see it, " continues Sébastien "the essentials in life consist of my family, my friends, Aubrac and cooking. Rooted in the land, the love of terroir and the taste of fine produce, there is nothing like it for inspiring culinary invention, which for me is an obsession and occupies all my waking moments.
It's true that the search for beauty, for pleasure and for taste are values which formed Sébstien's childhood. Focussed on the essential, his cuisine is not demonstrative, but encapsulates all the senses. "I love working with ingredients which are often wrongly perceived as of little vaue." With this 'cuisine of bits and bobs', bread takes on a new flavour when used as part of a stuffing, the skin of the milk, which Sébastien enjoyed so much as a child, adds an element of surprise to a dessert. These pumpkin seeds, once roasted and cut into fine strips, will season a gateau of truffles and jerusalem artichokes. A simple slice of pork fat nestling close to a piece of Aubrac beef, one of Grandma Bras's secrets, which she regarded as indispensible.
"We like to use the whole product: thus, for example, you will often find apple pips included in the dish." As for the Niacs, created by Sébastien and now widely used in his culinary repertoire, "These are flavourings which bring out the intensity in a dish. The Niac animates, structures, provokes, questions... It can be found in liquid emulsions of sorrel, of peppers, dried mixtures of black olives, with unrefinded cane sugar, fruits, vegetable combinations..."
"I create "spontaneous cuisine of the moment", instant, alive, sensual, which appeals more to the heart than the head. But make no mistake, it is also the result of much research, work, testing, maturity, history. The taste for cooking is all about balance; an open mind, a lot of hard work and the sum of one's total experiences. There is no substitute for experience. You cannot be, without having been."
"Nature is the defining influence, for she decides what she provides! Our cooking follows the rhythms of nature. Very often, the surprises which our garden at Lagardelle springs on us early in the morning enable us to create according to the morning dews and the seasons." Aubrac is also Sébastien's foundation. Its products determine the essentials of his cuisine. But also contact with the women and men who give their all in order to supply each day the quintesssence of their terroir. Sébastien demands that Aubrac be viewed in a contemporary light, where "rusticity" is not a reference. An Aubrac which he conjugates with his travels, "indispensible to open my mind, my heart, my senses." Leaving, in order to return enriched, effectively.