Considered one of the finest chefs in the rugged, mountainous Crans-Montana region of Switzerland, chef Franck Reynaud has been showcasing his culinary passion for more than 20 years. Relying heavily on locally sourced seasonal ingredients to create his Provincial cuisine, the chef has been awarded a Michelin star, which shines brightly at Le Restaurant Gastronomique L’Ours within the Hostellerie du Pas de l’Ours.
Being raised in a culinary family, was there ever a time when your father tried to steer you away from being in the restaurant industry because it is so difficult a profession?
I was born in the South of France, in a third generation of culinary professionals. They did not say you need to work in the kitchen or do the culinary profession. They gave us the education. Whether we choose the culinary or education profession was our choice.
They showed us how to receive people and give pleasure to the people. When I am in the kitchen, I want to give pleasure to the people. My work is my passion. If I was a schoolteacher, I think it would be the same mentality.
What tool — except for the knife — is one of your favorite kitchen utensils?
First we need to cook. We work with the oven — a really great oven. My new toy now comes from the United States, called the (Big) Green Egg. It can both cook and smoke at the same time. People are really interested in barbecue right now.
What advice would you give a young culinary student?
Don’t go (laughing)! You must like to give pleasure in the kitchen. You need sensibility and must work in service. It is hard work, but good work, and you need to find where you want (to)work; in pastry, with bread.
You need to understand how to how to be a leader, not a follower. In the kitchen, it has to be about the passion. I tell my son to make his own way, not to follow.
What do you see as the most important aspect of your profession?
Really, it is the ingredients; have the best ingredients you can. If you make a sauce with bad wine, you have a bad sauce. When the plate arrives in front of a guest, it must be really superb.
It is really simple — it is about creating maximum taste and texture. I was very fortunate to go to many kitchens with my parents to learn from the best in the world.
It is about the kitchen. When you work all the day, you go to a restaurant to have a good time.