What can top chefs not do without in the kitchen?

That is the question that Véronique André, columnist of scientific gastronomy, asks the elite of French chefs in her recent book Little secrets of great chefs (Hachette Cuisine, 2021): lessons in cooking and good taste.

book cover Little secrets of great chefs by Véronique André. † ax kitchen

David Bizet in the restaurant l’Oiseau Blanc of the peninsula de Paris (XVIand): butter from the Poncelet market (XVIIand), salt, Roellinger herbs, cream.

Mauro Colagrecothree stars at Mirazur de Menton (Alpes-Maritimes): eggs, butter, garlic, olive oil, lemon, vegetables from his vegetable garden.

Clementine and Jean CousseauLa Maison Cousseau (two stars) at the hotel Le Relais de la Poste, Magescq (Landes): fleur de sel from Salles-de-Béarn, hemp oil from the Landes.

Arnaud Donckele, three stars at La Vague d’Or in Saint-Tropez, chef at Plénitude restaurant in La Samaritaine in Paris: all spices in general, but ginger in particular, and seasonal vegetables. Butter and olive oil.

Beatriz GonzalezNeva Cuisine and Coretta in Paris: Citrus fruits as their acidity reveals flavors that enhance all flavors, bringing the chef back to her childhood in Cozumel, Mexico.

Christopher Hatch in Eygalières (Provence): olive oil, herbs from Provence, spaghetti squash, hay from La Crau (AOC), saffron from Eygalières, white truffle from Ventoux.

Arnaud Lallement at the Assiette Champenoise (Tinqueux near Reims), three stars: lemon, champagne vinegar, all herbs and langoustines.

Edouard Loubet in Manigod (Savoie): butter, flour (especially chestnut flour) and chickpeas.

Christopher Moretchef of the restaurant La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La Hotel (Paris XVIand): homemade tomato sauce in September and sterilized in jars.

Jean-Louis Nomicos in Paris XVIand: the paste of anchovies, black olives and green olives.

Bernard and Mathieu Pacaud IVand: olive oil, cream, butter and Corsican charcuterie.

Gerard Passedatthree stars at Petit Nice in Marseille: fish, Camargue rice, but also vegetables and lemon.

Laurent Kleinthree stars at Clos des Sens in Annecy: beluga lentils, white fish, spring onions, Bex salt, olive oil and pepper.

Anne-Sophie Picothree stars in Valence: eggs, olive oil, butter, sardines in oil, fleur de sel and its collection of peppers.

Eric Prasthree stars at the Maison Lameloise de Chagny (71150): hazelnut oil, spices, Guérande salt, pots of tuna belly in oil and green olives for pastries (memory from childhood) .

Michael Rothex-chef at the Ritz in Paris, president of the Bocuse d’Or Academy: salt, nutmeg, Melfor® vinegar, cabbage.

Michel Sarrandouble star in Toulouse: duck fat and ginger.

Guy Savoythree stars at La Monnaie de Paris: good bread, butter, eggs, nuts.

Cesar Troisgrosthree stars in Roanne: a very good black pepper from his Roellinger friends.

Yannick Allenothree stars at the Pavillon Ledoyen and at the Cheval Blanc in Courchevel: its Asian spices, sesame oil sauce, a few chopped garlic leaves, soy sauce, a piece of chilli, chives, lemon juice, celery ball.

Frederick Antonthree stars in the Pré Catelan (Paris XVIand) and Jules Verne’s chef at the Eiffel Tower: eggs and potatoes. Spices, semi-salted butter, oil, cider, honey, garlic and apples.

Armaud-Arnalstarred with Chassagnette in the Camargue: garlic, lemon, fennel, olive oil.

Christophe Bacquiethree-star chef at the Hôtel du Castellet (Var): fish, olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables from the region, potatoes and chicken stock.

Cedric Bechadechef at the Auberge Basque in Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle (Pyrénées-Atlantiques): Espelette pepper, piquillo pepper, Gernika pepper, guindillas and all easily digestible peppers not stronger than pepper, but ten times more are fragrant.

Kei Kobayashithree-star Japanese chef in Paris (Ier): vegetables and seasonal products, fish, meat, herbs, butter, salt and pepper.

Christian le Squerthree-star chef of the Five at Hotel George V: buttermilk and butter, dairy products that are always present in his kitchen.

Regis and Jacques Marconthree stars in Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid (43290): seasonal mushrooms, eggs, potatoes, butter, cheese, salt and pepper.

Jean-Sulpice in the Auberge du Père Bise (Talloires in Savoie), two stars: honey, pepper, salt, fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Alain Passardthree stars in the Arpège in Paris (VIIand): fresh seasonal vegetables from the garden.

Romain Mederex-star chef in Plaza Athénée, chef at Sapid in Paris (Xand): potatoes, Comté cheese, butter, lentils.

Olivier Nasty, chef from Chambard in Alsace: game and vanilla. Green vegetables, mushrooms and anything on the market that can be associated with rice.

Fanny ReyMichelin-starred chef and owner of the Auberge de Saint-Rémy-de-Provence: vegetables, plants, wild and medicinal flowers, seaweed.

Akrame Benallalstar chef rue Tronchet (VIII .)and): olive oil, Maldon® salt, tonka bean and Voatsiperifery pepper from Madagascar.

George White in Vonnas (Ain), with three stars: its sauces, sauce bases and whips. Butter and cream.

Helene Darrozetwo-star chef: the champagne she likes to cook, eggs, gherkins, tomatoes, zucchini and peas in season.

Pierre Gagnairethree-star chef in his restaurant at Hôtel Balzac in Paris: a little fat, lots of vegetables, eggs, fish, oysters and all legumes.

Thierry Marxtwo-star chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Paris (Ier): butter, salt, pepper, olives and dried capers, olive, sesame and peanut oil. And chocolate of course!

Xavier Mathieustar chef in Joucas en Provence (84220): basil, herbs, olive oil (his own), lemon.

René and Maxime Bestthree-star chefs at La Bouitte in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville in Savoie: Maxime loves the butter that brings so much indulgence, René loves potatoes and mountain charcuterie.

Alain Pegouretstar chef at the Sergent Recruiteur in Paris (IVand): olive or avocado oil, onions, herring in oil, Kaviari® caviar, fleur de sel, herbs and spices.

Nicholas Sale, ex-star chef of the Ritz de Paris: salt, pepper, eggs and dried pasta. His kitchen utensils and his notebooks are also very dear to him.

Christian Sinicropicstar chef at Martinez in Cannes: marjoram for its flavour, olive oil, herbs and spices.

Jean-François Traptwo-star restaurant in the Grand Restaurant (VIIIand): a piece of Parmesan cheese, butter, mustard, salt and pepper.

Christopher Coutanceauthree-star in La Rochelle: sea fish, risotto, herbs, cooked ham, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Julien Dumaschef of the Château-Hôtel Saint-James in Paris (16thand): black garlic, sherry vinegar, honey and especially a good cauliflower.

Christian Etchebestchef of the Cantine du Troquet in Paris (VIand): eggs, garlic, Espelette pepper.

Nicholas Massetwo-star chef at Sources de Caudalie in Martillac (Gironde): caviar from Aquitaine, wild garlic, Basque specialties such as sheep cheese and ham from Bayonne.

Alexandre Mazziathree-star restaurant AM in Marseille: all seasonal products from the garden, lentils, spices, harissa and semolina.

Flora Mikulachef of the Auberge Flora in Paris (XIand): olive oil, Espelette pepper and fleur de sel.

Jean Pierre Vigatoex-star chef at restaurant Apicius in Paris (VIIIand): ground pepper, stock, spices and vegetables.

Julien Gatillonchef of the restaurant Nous in Megève: mustard and fleur de sel.

Michel Guerardthree-star chef at Prés d’Eugénie in Eugénie-les-Bains (Landes): cheese, butter, mushrooms, fruit and vegetables of the day.

Cyril Lignac, owner of several restaurants and confectioners in Paris: olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar. His knives!

Guy Martinchef of the Grand Véfour in Paris (Ier): butter, olive oil, seasonal vegetables, wild Madagascar pepper, garlic, nuts and olives.

Glenn Vielthree-star chef at Oustau de Baumanière in Baux de Provence: vegetables from his vegetable garden and caramel flan.

A good kitchen is based on quality and the search for good basic products, a chosen, impeccable raw material. The ways of doing things, the recipes, the chef’s style come next. This is also known as ‘market kitchen’, as Paul Bocuse said: seasonal products reflect the gifts of nature.

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Véronique André signs Little secrets of great chefs – Portraits and family recipes of the greats of gastronomy† Ax kitchen. Illustrated edition. An excellent practical book. 288 pages. €25.95.

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