Travel & Gourmet

Interview with Michel Troisgros: man who changed modern French cuisine

Nouvelle Cuisine is one of the most used and spread terminus if we speak about Haut Cuisine and it is traditionally associated with the surname Troisgros, especially with Pierre and Michel: father and son thanks to whom French cuisine took a new contemporary direction. Michel shared with us his view on how it is to be a part of Troisgros family, their values, his view on his sons’ future and has revealed his dreams.
Reading time 5 minutes
Photo credit: Maison Troisgros, F.Ledru

To begin with, Michel, how does it feel to be Troisgros? Challenging, interesting, responsabile?

For me, it’s not a game to be somebody else, it’s all about being just me, very naturally. It’s about being proud about our family’s history and about the bridge from my dad to me and from me to my sons. This bridge - it is also about life, about the past and future. My life was all about balancing between past and present: I always used to look at my dad when I was in the beginning of my career, and at the same time I was dreaming about discovering something new, changing things and going to bear with the standards.

I am sure that being Troisgros, living with it and working with it as a surname and as a destiny is my participation in history.

What are the main values of Troisgros family?

Simplicity, availability, generosity, freedom, independence. The world of Haute Cuisine has many obligations and rules, but I have always been free to make my decision. Troisgros family is famous, you have a particular pressure and expectations, but I am happy that I have always had the possibility to choose my way.

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Photo credit: Maison Troisgros

What is the recipe of your success, Michel?

If only I could know it! I always used to do the things which were the reflection of me and my ideas, I was true to me, first of all. I confess being open-minded, curious, I love people, in general, from my family and my staff to my all clients.

Following the topic of your clients, what is the main thing which you learned from them?

I guess, it would be the sensibility with which the client “lives” the experience being with us. It is when a person understands something which is not concentrated at the surface, but stays under the cover: why this ingredient is used, where it comes from, why it was chosen, etc. We speak about the client who has an elevated level of sensibility and attention and who shares with us his thoughts in a very fruitful and deep conversation

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Photo credit: Maison Troisgros

Troisgros, being a historic restaurant, has some plates which are served all the years through the restaurant's history. How do you feel cooking all this time the same plates?

Our iconic dish- Salmon with a sorrel, created by my dad, Pierre, is something special to us because this dish made history. It was always cooked by my dad, then by me, but at some point I put it “in hold” giving more space to my ideas, but it has never been forgotten. I just wanted to express myself, even though I always had a hesitation. And now, many years after, I newly cook Salmon with a sorrel, and now, to me, it’s the gesture of pride and homage, the way to communicate to my clients why it still could be a “modern” dish and why it is significant for the gastronomy world. This dish is the representation of our history and the way we communicate it.

And now, going to the future: how would you imagine it for Maison Troisgros?

I feel that Maison Troigros will be evaluating here, away from Roanne’s center, in the middle of the fields, lakes and our gardens - close to nature. My son - Cesar, is passionate about our gardens and agriculture in general, he talks a lot about the responsibility as the new method of working. I think that the new generation ports more consciousness. My generation has also had it, surely, but we had many difficulties to change our “habits”, sometimes, not so “ecologically-correct” and my sons are much more convinced about the ideas of sustainability, wastes, responsible consumption. They barely “feel” the fragility of the world. So, the future to me, is very optimistic: I am happy that it will be in the hands of my sons.

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Photo credit: Maison Troisgros

Yours sons Cesar and Leo, the future generation of Troisgros, what could you say about them?

Apart from that I adore them? (laughs). I feel delighted to have both of my sons in the kitchen and I feel happy seeing them so engaged in this craft. I enjoy being a “spectator” of their decisions.

Leo is young and highly energetic, ambitious, he has pleasant, wonderful personality, he’s attentive and he loves people, that’s why they pay him back with it. He is our future in “La Colline du Colombier” restaurant.

Cesar is 33 years old, he is much more mature, he has more experience and responsibility in the kitchen. Cesar is sensible, rigorous, precised, methodic, he has finesse in him and in all he does. He is demanding, first of all, with himself, and also with others. Cesar is an example for his brother, Leo.

The last question, a bit abstract but romantic: what is the dream of Michel Troisgros?

Succeed in transmitting the values and history of Troisgros, and give my family the opportunity to be happy.

 

Aline Borghese

 

The author Aline Borghese is an international journalist and critic of haute cuisine.

She is a graduate of the culinary schools of the Ritz Escoffier, Ecole de cuisine Alain Ducasse, La Cucina Italiana. Champagne and wine sommelier, cocktail enthusiast, gastronomic consultant and simply Bohémienne Affamée.

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