A quick chat with Pascal Aussignac, chef

'I feel like a survivor'
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The Independent Online

Pascal Aussignac, 43, is a Toulouse-born, multiple award-winning chef and restaurant proprietor. He opened Club Gascon in 1998 with his business partner Vincent Labeyrie, followed by Celler Gascon in West Smithfield, Le Comptoir Gascon in Charterhouse Street and more recently Le Cercle in Chelsea.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...In the kitchen making a sauce.

A phrase I use far too often is...“Sex on the plate”.

I wish people would take more notice of...their own identity. People spend too much time copying others.

A common misperception of me is... that I’m lying about the things I have achieved. I’m 43 but look a lot younger, so people do not believe me when I tell them the things I have done with my life.

The most surprising thing about me is... that I’m still alive in London after 12 years! Running a restaurant in London is very hard and achieving all you want to achieve is even harder. I feel like a survivor and I’m proud to remain a part of the London scene.

I'm not a politician but... if I were I’d ban taxis from making U-turns. I like taxi drivers but they cause so many accidents by not looking out for bikes. They think they own the roads.

I'm good at... flower arranging. I arrange all the flowers in my restaurant and find the creation of texture, colour and beauty very similar to cooking.

But I'm very bad at... keeping my private life happy. My business affects my private life too much and makes it very chaotic. I need to manage my time off better.

My ideal night out is... dinner at the Wolsley followed by a night at Shoreditch House.

In moments of weakness I... compare my life to the millions of people around the world who have no freedom. I soon stop feeling sorry for myself.

In a truer life I'd have been... an architect, although before I became a chef I planned a career in stonecutting.

The best age to be is... 43. No matter how good or bad life is, the present is always the perfect time.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is... try your best to make other people happy. Surround yourself with happy people.

Pascal will be taking part in Taste of Christmas this year at ExCel (3-5 December). His book Cuisinier Gascon is out now.