With his cuisine with flavors from elsewhere, Wilfried Romain is this season’s globetrotter of top chef† On the occasion of the broadcasting of a new episode of the culinary competition, this Wednesday, April 27, the protégé of Paul Pairet answered questions from Gala.fr†
Wilfried Romain certainly had the most atypical career in this new season of Top Chef. First member of Hélène Darroze’s brigade, the 28-year-old has put on Paul Pairet’s purple bracelet, shortly after his elimination. From the height of his 97 meters, the candidate impresses with his cuisine and his techniques learned during his travels† Before defending his place in the competition on Wednesday, April 27, the chief agreed to answer questions from Gala.fr† From his collaboration with chef Thierry Marx to his career in top chef while going through his projects, Wilfried Romain made a few confiscations. meeting.
Gala.fr: A few weeks ago you returned to top chef† Did you expect such a turn?
Wilfried Romain: Not at all ! We’re not going to lie to each other. During my elimination against Louise, it was clearly the end of the game for me. In the end, I got this opportunity out of nowhere. I’m very thankful for I don’t know who and I don’t know what (he smiles)†
Gala.fr: By the way, how did you get into the famous culinary competition?
Wilfried Romain: That is my friend Thomas (Chisholm, editors note) who participated in the previous season of top chef which prompted me to try the experiment. One day he said to me: “Go ahead, sign up, you really have something to show on your travels”† Suddenly registrations, castings, filming and television. I remember very well the phone call I was answered. I confess I didn’t really believe it. After that everything went very quickly.
Gala.fr: How did your participation turn your life upside down?
Wilfried Romain: I think I’m still the same person: an ordinary cook with my background and my ideas. The show is a bull’s eye. Suddenly everyone is interested in you (he smiles)† top chef is a crazy experience. I like to say it’s a great professional experience, but it’s also a great human experience. I met people I would not have known in everyday life, such as Pascal, Thibaut, Ambroise and Mickaël. These encounters go beyond the kitchen. I feel really lucky to have experienced this match.
“Hélène Darroze is like a mother”
Gala.fr: Since your return you are in Paul Pairet’s Brigade† You seem to have formed a beautiful bond. What is your relationship with the chef?
Wilfried Romain: Paul Pairet is blood (he smiles)† I am very happy to be on Chef Paul Pairet’s team, with whom it really works. We get along well, he gives good advice. It’s really great! At the start of the competition I hoped to be on his team. It didn’t happen, that’s the game. When I joined his team, we talked and he immediately picked up on my mistakes, my qualities and my state of mind. When he blindly chose my dish the week before, it was dedication. I could stop the competition, I had accomplished my mission. The citrus test was one of the best memories of this adventure.
Gala.fr: Before that you were with Helene Darroze† What do you remember about your collaboration with the two-star chef?
Wilfried Romain: It’s not the same form of coaching at all. Hélène Darroze is like a mother, much softer. While Paul Pairet, despite his crazy scientific side, knows how to apply pressure when needed. They are both interesting.
Gala.fr: What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses in this match.
Wilfried Romain : In strengths, I have the ability to step back from what happens on set. Granted, I’ve got a star chef in front of me, but I’m just cooking. I have the ability to get out of this pressure to reflect and anticipate. And nothing from me, because of my many travels I have acquired a certain openness in my kitchen. This allows for a different approach. Ultimately, my strengths can also be my weaknesses.
Gala.fr: Does the ninja-style cloth around your head reflect your mood behind the stove?
Wilfried Romain: Not at all (he smiles) † It’s so hot on set I can’t stop sweating. Instead of wiping my forehead, I put on this tea towel. So yes, there’s a bit of Warrior side, but I’m just saying it as a guy who plays sports.
“The man to be killed is Mickaël Braure”
Gala.fr: If you had the chance to do an event again, which one would you choose?
Wilfried Romain: I’d say the ordeal of Chef Mazzia’s impossible partnership with the Red Brigade finishing last. I had chocolate/bacon. For me, not much was missing from our recipe to finish on top. This is one of my biggest regrets in this adventure. Chef Mazzia is one of the chefs in France that I respect the most. If I could take the test again and finish first, I would do it without any problems.
Gala.fr: At this stage of the competition, is there one candidate you fear more than another?
Wilfried Romain: The man to kill is Mickaël Braure. He is a very complete cook. He is a war machine because he had a restaurant war with him. He is a very good cook. Humanly speaking, it has real values whether in the kitchen or in everyday life. He’s my favorite.
Gala.fr: If you had already made an inventory of your career, what do you remember about this experience?
Wilfried Romain: You should never rest on a victory. It’s not by winning an event that you necessarily start the next week as a favorite. You should never let go, even if a test doesn’t appeal to you on paper. You have to get over that. It is also a matter of respect for all the people who made this casting. We can’t give up.
“I owe a lot to Thierry Marx”
Gala.fr: In your professional career you had the opportunity to work together Thierry Marx† What do you remember about this experience?
Wilfried Romain: I have a lot of respect for Thierry Marx. When I arrived in Paris, he gave me my chance when I was only 22 years old. It was very difficult at the beginning, but I loved working with him. He has an approach to cooking, a very zen way of coaching his team, which has brought me a lot. It’s in my DNA now. I’m sorry I didn’t stay by her side longer. I was young, a little fiery. But I owe him a lot.
Gala.fr: Have you always wanted to make a career behind the stove?
Wilfried Romain: I was bad in college, I wasn’t fit for studies. After an internship in the ninth grade, I enrolled in the hotel school in Metz, in Lorraine, where I learned all the basics of cooking. It was almost an addiction. From that moment on, I told myself I wanted to spend my life in the kitchen.
Gala.fr: You have established yourself as the adventurer of this new season of Top Chef. You have traveled extensively in Latin American countries. What have these journeys brought you?
Wilfried Romain : We talked about Thierry Marx before and it was he who gave me the trigger. When I got to his kitchens, I had just returned from Asia. I let him taste an amuse-bouche, a broth with coconut milk and lemongrass. And then he said to me: “Wow, I’m in Bangkok, Banco!” This sentence made me laugh because he is a super calm chef. This dish allowed me to make it travel. I realized that I could derive something from a dish from Asia, Oceania or Latin America.
Gala.fr: How do you define your kitchen?
Wilfried Romain: I like to say it’s a kitchen that’s back from a trip. Today I feed on all my travels. In January I was in Costa Rica. I tasted one black soup† I am working on version 2.0. My goal is to make people travel through my dishes.
Gala.fr: What advice would you give to a young person who wants to start cooking?
Wilfried Romain: I will tell him to try and not give up after 15 days. In the beginning it is very difficult. If you finish hotel school and start in a starred kitchen, you will get a physical blow. We cut ourselves, we burn ourselves, we are no good. It’s really the first 2-3 years of work that are tough. We constantly question ourselves. But you have to believe in it and not give up. You have to give yourself the means as it is not one of the easiest jobs. We don’t save lives afterwards, I think that’s important to say.
Gala.fr: What are your projects?
Wilfried Romain: It’s hot news (he smiles)† I have many things in discussion for short-lived projects. Then I am in big discussion for the premises of my future restaurant in the Paris area for January 2023. I want to take my time and do things right. I don’t want to open to open. I want to do something top notch and thoughtful.
Photo credits: Marie ETCHEGOYEN/M6