Between the return of Thibaut and Lilian to the competition, the second round of elimination and the disappearance of Hélène Darroze, this tenth episode promised to be very tense for the candidates. Unfortunately, it will be Lucie who abandons the adventure, having failed to seduce the dreaded chef Goujon with her grapefruit oysters during the blind tasting.
At the beginning, “the kitchen was not a clear and final choice”the candidate admits. After studying international trade in the United States, the young woman decided to try her luck in the kitchen. After training at the Paul Bocuse school, she entered the kitchens of Gérald Passedat, or even Alexandre Mazzia. Today, the chef of restaurant Sépia in Nantes top chef as a career accelerator: “The show opened up a lot of possibilities for me.”
Back on his eventful journey.
Konbini food | What have you learned during your different experiences in the kitchen?
Lucia | I learned a lot about haute cuisine. These were circles I didn’t know at all. Chef Gérald Passedat has his own way of working with fish, he has a special and direct relationship with the fishermen. Alexandre Mazzia had a very different view of the brigade than the cooks I had worked with before. All these experiences have enriched me enormously.
What did it mean to you to participate? top chef †
After only two years of experience, I immediately opened my restaurant, I cut myself off from the world of the brigade. By participating in top chef,,I wanted to detach myself from my experience as a chef. I am used to working alone and there I wanted to see something different and get out of my daily life.
During Heston Blumenthal’s ordeal, you have to work the potato. But you disagree with Arnaud…
Arnaud and I are very accomplices and friends on the show, so it has destabilized me a bit, but it’s just a way of communicating that shouldn’t be taken as something serious. It has nothing to do with him, it happens sometimes, it wasn’t my day. Lots of little things made me leave then.
In the citrus test, we feel you’re ready to battle it out, not give up your place in the adventure. What happens at that moment?
It’s quite frustrating because I work a lot with citrus fruits in the restaurant, I really enjoy working with them. At that point, I’m disgusted because it’s not going as well as expected. It was a big risk taking and the risks were out of control. When Chef Gilles Goujon arrives and tells me there’s more iodine than citrus, it’s already a mess.
What is your best memory of top chef †
I have many good memories. Choosing would be like eliminating some of them. I only remember the victories, because they are strong moments when something very special happens. There was a time when I saw Alexandre Mazzia again…
As soon as you got to the show, you said you regretted leaving Chef Mazzia’s kitchens… Can we say you took revenge?
It’s not some kind of revenge, but it’s a pain I carried inside me. Thanks to top chefWhen I saw him again, it freed me from all that. This is luggage I left behind during the show. Since the show I feel liberated in my kitchen, I get to the bottom of it, I have gained confidence in myself in the culinary field.
And your relationship with Chef Glenn Viel?
He is incredible. He was super nice to me. I think the flow went well. He is a young chef, he is modern in his approach to cooking, he has easy communication. He coached me very well, thanks to him I have achieved many victories. He pulled me up.
I had an incredible opportunity to work with him, these are just good memories. You only experience this once in your life. He often told me “You have the right to be who you are and you will see the experience change your character”. He was very understanding, it made communication and understanding fluid.
What is the idea of Sépia, your restaurant in Nantes?
We work locally. It was a long term job before opening, there was a lot of work sourcing to buy the products. We look for the most local: all products are less than 100 km from the restaurant. We make cultivation contracts with the growers: it is an agreement between both parties to make sure that they sell their production and that I get supplies.
Everyone knows the local so in the end we intersect at product level, you have to know how to distinguish yourself. For example, the cultivation contract makes it possible to have varieties that my horticulturist only grows for me. Together with my horticulturist, we grow varieties that come from elsewhere: herbs from, for example, the Asian continent. Otherwise we are currently growing a Mexican pipicha, a kind of slightly wild tarragon with a special taste. These are little extras that we try to highlight in our kitchen.
What has changed for you since then? top chef †
I go deeper into things, I feel more liberated and legitimate. In order to participate in the competition, I also had to recruit a lot. So today I have a very different schedule that allows me to do something different, I have a little more time to work on other projects, see my daughter or fix up the restaurant, for example right now. It opened up many possibilities for me.
And you, personally, watch the show?
Overall, I’m super happy to see the show, it brings back good memories, we see colleagues differently. It’s nice to dive back into the thing, it’s great.
And social networks?
Everyone has an opinion about everything. Personally I don’t have a problem with that because I don’t look at the negative. Of all the comments I only have the positive. I have many messages encouraging me, many people supporting me. Some tell me: “It’s cool because I’m as sensitive as you are. It’s rare to see sensitive people on screen.” It’s just positive things.
We, candidates, we are all carried through the kitchen in the beginning, it is of the order of passion. By participating in this program, I think we don’t necessarily think about the rest, that we don’t measure that this main aspect, the kitchen, can be forgotten in favor of other, more useless things. top chef it allows us to have an incredible voice and visibility, it’s positive and we don’t expect anything else, we don’t care about negative things.
You would come back to top chef if we offer it to you?
Yes, if we had to start over, it would be phew. Given the evolution and the good I get out of it today personally and professionally, it would be great. I’ve matured and grown and if I can do it again, I will do it again.