My life in food: Richard Geoffroy, cellar master
'There's something addictive about a fragrant Thai curry'
Thursday 10 October 2013
Born in the heart of Champagne country, one of a long line of Côte des Blanc winegrowers, Richard Geoffroy went on to make his mark as Dom Pérignon's chef de cave. During 20 years in the job, Geoffroy has explored in depth the many vintage samples he watches over. He has recently collaborated with Jeff Koons, who has designed two limited-edition gift boxes for the Dom Pérignon Blanc 2004 and Rosé 2003, which are on sale now.
What are your most- and least-used pieces of kitchen kit?
The most-used are my knives. They are Japanese knives I brought over from Japan many years ago. They require a bit of maintenance but I love them and they are so precious to me. My least-used are some of the electric appliances – in French we say "robo" – the big, all-purpose blenders and mixers. I don't use them, I mix all my spices in a mortar.
If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?
I would go for vegetables. I would get them from the market. I'd make an all-vegetable thing, either salad, or something baked with layers of different veg all together. Or soup – I am really keen on soups.
What do you eat for comfort?
I'm a pasta guy. So it would be pasta or just something very simple: roast chicken or cheese. I also love fish.
If you could only eat either bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I would choose bread, definitely. Obviously you can come up with so many potato-based recipes, but bread is so diverse. It's so essential. And, of course, I am a Frenchman.
What's your desert island recipe?
If I could choose one thing, it would be a Thai curry. I'd prepare all my ingredients and paste with the mortar. There's something about Thai curry that is totally addictive, it's to do with the fragrance of the herbs.
What's your favourite restaurant?
If we're talking about my most memorable experience it would be the shojin vegetarian restaurants in Japan, where everything is only prepared by monks. But more of a regular place I would go to is Jean-François Piège, in Paris. It's a restaurant of 20 seats, the size of a private dining room and it's as minimalist, concise and down-to-earth as it could be. It only offers one or two dishes a day, composed of only a few ingredients.
What's your favourite cookbook?
It would be a book by David Thompson called Thai Street Food. He's an Australian who cooks Thai. For me, this is not just a recipe book but a reference book. It has all the street food, from pad thai to skewers, all the vegetable soups. Very simple things you can prepare in a few minutes. It's so fragrant and enticing.
Who taught you about wine?
I'm born and raised in a family of vignerons, but it's all from my father. My father was an outstanding vigneron and a very impressive man. I remember when I was four or five we made wine together and I was marked for the rest of my life. I owe it all to him.
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