My life in food: Patrice Pinet, master blender, Courvoisier


Pinet is only the sixth master blender at the French cognac house, so often works with cognacs, some of them 40 years old, that have been handed down by his predecessors.

He joined the house in 1989 after studying agronomy in Bordeaux, rising through the ranks to be appointed master blender in 2009. Pinet was instrumental in introducing the company’s system of printing the cognacs’ ages on the bottles, a modest revolution in the cognac world.

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

Most used would be a wok. I use  it to prepare everything from vegetables to fish. It is the best  way to prepare nice food very quickly – that helps a lot when you are busy. Everything else I can live without. I don’t really have anything I don’t use.

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

I would definitely spend it on cheese from a good French fromagerie. Which? I like lots but my favourites are comté (from Jura) or a good reblochon from  the Alps.

What do you eat for comfort?

Veal and carrots – this was a simple dish that my wife prepared for me when we first met. It takes me back to that first encounter  – and all of the memories from  our earlier days.

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

I like both bread and potatoes. But I am from France – so it would have to be bread. I could eat fresh French bread for the rest of my life.

What’s your desert Island drink?

I suppose I would say this – but the Courvoisier XO I make. Why? Well it’s aged for 20 years and is perfect for sipping when you have time to enjoy it. Fantastique!

What’s your favourite restaurant?

How to choose just one favourite? In London my favourite restaurant is the Roux brothers’ place at The Langham – the food is excellent. If I go for a drink in London it is to Rules. Now that is a very special place. I like the surroundings – traditional and classic London. The Ivy is also another great bar – it does some very fine cognac cocktails. If I  am to eat out in Paris, though, I tend to favour La Tour D’Argent, where the pressed duck  is exquisite.

What’s your favourite cookbook?

Well, my first cookbook was Cuisine Sans Souci, which translates as “cooking without trouble”. My mother gave this to me when I left home. it taught me the basic cooking skills that I still use today. I now often use Cuisine du Cognac. The author is a favourite of mine: Françoise Barbin Lecrevisse. She used to work for us some time ago and she specialises in creating dishes with cognac.

Who taught you about cognac?

At Courvoisier we have a tasting committee. Over the years I have learnt a lot from the people on this committee. One of the most important people for me here was Maurice Raguenaud. He was a specialist in distilling cognac and he started teaching me when he was 70. He taught me a great deal. Jean Marc Oliver, who was once a master blender himself, was important, too. His was a different speciality – he taught me about blending eau-de-vie,  an intricate art.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own