Renowned Chef Gérald Passédat is known for his ability to produce stunning, and delicious gastronomic masterpieces. Lauded as the King of Mediterranean cuisine, the chef has embarked on a new project at Villa La Coste. Boasting 3 Michelin stars under his belt, the french cookery connoisseur tells us about his inspiration and passion.
The Mediterranean has always been a source inspiration for you. This is your first move outside of Marseille. Does it represent a new challenge in your career?
It is a magnificent project, and I couldn’t pass up on such a setting. Having said that, Aix-en-Provence is not that far from Marseille. I’m a native of Provence, so it doesn’t feel strange to divide my time between the Villa La Coste and the Petit Nice.
How is the restaurant service structured?
We are in charge of the “Louison Gérald Passédat” signature restaurant [editor’s note: named after Louise Bourgeois, whose works are exhibited in the vineyard]. Then there is also Villa La Coste restaurant, which is a more casual venue which prepares generous dishes throughout the day. And then there is the room service for the 28 villa suites. We also have to come up with “detox” dishes for the future spa. It is a real ocean liner of a project, bigger than the one I manage in Marseille. It has been nothing short of an adventure, and I was very impatient for it to open. It is immensely satisfying to have worked on a project from the very beginning.
How did you come to work with Villa La Coste?
The owner, whom I didn’t know, came to have lunch at the Petit Nice. When he had finished eating, he asked if we could talk for a few minutes. He explained that they were building the hotel and asked if I’d be interested in working on the project. The first time I visited the La Coste domain, I was absolutely amazed by the setting.
Château La Coste is remarkable for the series of contemporary artworks that are exposed in its vineyards. Were you attracted by this artistic connection?
By the art and also by the wine. The way the domain is managed is one of the main reasons why I agreed to work here [editor’s note: Château La Coste has 200 hectares under organic and biodynamic cultivation].
From a culinary point of view, is this a new departure given that you are in the heart of Provence and no longer on the Mediterranean?
It is a new dimension. But just because we are located in Provence does not mean that there will not be a connection between the region and the Mediterranean. We are only three-quarters of an hour from the sea. So I will still be working with my fishermen. I am also looking forward to working with produce from the vegetable garden and with local meat ingredients, whether it be lamb or poultry.
Do you think this project will provide you with a new source of inspiration?
It is a bit like writing a book. You are always trying to outdo yourself. And when you get to the last line, you always think ‘I could have done better.’ It is a healthy and positive way of making progress, and it is good to be open to new approaches and to take into account new criticism.
We noticed that the menu features a “turbot carpaccio with grated truffles and caviar,” which is very reminiscent of one of the more famous dishes served at the Petit Nice. Is this a reference to the family business?
It is a reference, but if we are preparing it in Provence we won’t be making it in Marseille. It’s good to draw on past inspiration when you are opening a new venue. But having said that, when I open a new restaurant I want the menu to be different.
Are you aiming for Michelin stars?
Yes, but no date has been set for that. We prepare the cuisine that we want to make, which fortunately or unfortunately is also the type of cuisine that can be awarded stars.
This interview was conducted by AFP Relaxnews.