My life in food: Hélène Darroze

 

After working under Alain Ducasse, Hélène Darroze opened her own restaurant in Paris in 1999 and received a Michelin star just two years later. In 2011, her restaurant at the Connaught Hotel in London's Mayfair received two stars from the Michelin critics.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

Most used would be my cocotte oven-proof dish. I use it for chicken, for fish or whenever I simmer something for a long time. I can put a piece of meat inside, put it in the oven and let it cook, then remove it and just serve it from that on the table. The thing I never use is the microwave. I have one at home, but it's a very old thing and we never use it. In my restaurant kitchens – in London and Paris – I don't have one.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I would go to a good bakery and buy a nice piece of country bread, or baguette. Then I would buy a good piece of cheese, and chocolate, too. I love a good chocolate, with a very good piece of bread. I used to have this in the afternoon with my grandmother when I was a child, and for me there is nothing better. When I was a child I also used to have warm milk, directly from the farmer. When you boiled it and left it a bit there was cream on the top, and my grandmother used to put the cream with the bread and chocolate. It was just wonderful.

What do you eat for comfort?

It will surprise you, but I like very simple things. When I come back home, my mother doesn't need to ask me what I want any more because she knows it will be a roast chicken. One from La Londe, my country. They are corn-fed so have a lot of fat and a lot of taste – I'm at my most comfortable with that.

If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I don't know, but I suppose it would have to be potatoes. I love them both, but there are so many ways of cooking the potato. So, for that reason, there is more pleasure in it for me as a cook. I love them boiled, and with a little bit of olive oil or butter they're marvellous. Fries; mashed potato; the roast ones on the side on a Sunday in a country pub – I love them. The potato is probably the best vegetable – it gives you so many ways to express yourself.

What's your desert island recipe?

I would take one of my recipes, my black rice signature dish, which is very successful with everyone, and which I love. It's black rice with calamari and chorizo and parmesan emulsion.

What's your favourite restaurant?

The one run by Thomas Keller in New York, Per Se. Keller, for me, is the best chef at the moment. I love his way of cooking, his sensibility, the emotion he puts in the plate, the produce he uses. Everything is perfect. I had the opportunity to cook with him once at this restaurant and we did a dinner together. I was so lucky that he agreed to do that with me, he had never done that before. Four days I spent in the kitchen with him – that was just a dream for me.

What's your favourite cookbook?

I love the first one by Alain Ducasse – La Riviera. I worked a lot on it with him and it was very interesting. And I like mine, too! It's special, there is so much of me in it.

Who taught you to cook?

I am the fourth generation of my family to cook, so you could say I was born in the kitchen. My biggest influence was from my grandmothers. They both taught me so much about ingredients and about the integrity of food.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone