Bruno Menard－米其林三星名厨－3 Michelin Star Celebrity Chef.
3 Michelin Star celebrity chef, Bruno Menard was in Guangzhou recently to take part in the Sofitel Star Chefs 2015 at Sofitel Guangzhou Sunrich. Mr Menard now lives and applies his professional culinary trade in Singapore, but upon arriving in Guangzhou, he took time out of his busy schedule to allow Delta Bridges to interview him at Sofitel in Guangzhou.
To start with, we asked Chef Bruno about his early years when he worked in his father’s chocolatier shop and how important it was for his professional development in later life. Bruno Menard had this to say, “For sure it was important. Without a doubt, it helped me develop immensely. I learnt many different aspects of life, but not just from working with my father, but my grandfather too. I developed business values, which is important in any profession. However and most crucially of all, I learnt that tradition is essential and it should influence you to keep to your roots. But success and the development of yourself can not occur unless you have passion for what you do. Of course I learnt so much from an early age, but to be successful, you need that extra drive to guide you to where you want to be”.
Bruno Menard was then asked by Delta Bridges about what he personally thinks is more important in the culinary field, education, or work experience. “Everything and more is important, because to become a great chef, sometimes education and work experience is not enough. Sacrifice needs to be made and something extra is needed in the form of flair and vision. These are arguably the key elements to becoming great. These aspects need to be wielded correctly though. Education gives you a guideline, whilst experience provides confidence, but flair and vision help a chef create their own style, which opens up other doors such as the ability to create new and exciting cuisines”.
Bruno Menard is a celebrity chef with an abundance of experience and many achievements, but Delta Bridges wanted to ask what the proudest moment of his career has been so far. Chef Bruno stated how being awarded the 3 Michelin Stars is his most pleasing moment as of yet, but also spoke of his culinary team. “I think any chef if awarded 3 Michelin Stars would say that is their highlight because it is a rare achievement, but I firmly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people I have been honoured to work with in the past. I’ve learnt so much from other professionals and I dedicate the 3 Michelin Stars to them as well as my current team, who have always worked tirelessly to deliver their best and have supported me throughout my career”.
Any successful career needs to be inspired by something or someone, so we asked if there were any particularly inspirational figures when he started as an official chef at the age of 16. “Paul Bocuse of France is a figurehead of mine, also winners of the ‘On des Meilleurs de France’ (MOF). The people who win this prestigious and unique award are the very best at their respective trade and with the competition being one that is so fierce, contestants must have something special up their sleeve to compete. I would also say that people like Joël Robuchon, Paul Bocuse and Alain Ducasse are mantels for the chefs and bakers who take part in the MOF. These three great Frenchmen were very influential to me too, but I have now met many other influential people and the journey of life is full of many surprises.”
“Anyone in this business will help you make the right choices and decisions, but this can only be achieved through communication, which I’ve always said is the key to understanding. Meeting professionals and communicating with these professionals is pivotal and will help you grow. In relation to this, there is a competition in France every two years called Bocuse D’Or and I was able to train a young chef who attended the competition. Mentoring the young chef felt very good to me because that’s what this business is all about. The experience and education is important to helping you learn so many new aspects of culinary, to which you as a mentor have to pass down to someone else because these young chefs are the future”.
Next Bruno Menard was asked about his usage of the Japanese word ‘umami’. “Yes, it is a word that is less than one hundred years old in fact and in a way, umami can be related to culinary because of the flavours such as ‘sweet’, ‘sour’, ‘bitter’ and acidic’. As a chef, these flavours must be utilised to make the perfect match. It is a science, it is perfection and that is why umami is important because if one mistake is made, then a dish is ruined. Anyone who wants to create this perfection will be passionate and this can be seen in France because cooking is not seen as a job, French people cook for pleasure and the balance as well as the consistency of umami in France is completed by the wine. With all these elements combined, a moment of clarity and pleasure ensues”.
Delta Bridges’ final question to chef Bruno Menard was whether he had any advice for young chefs who are passionate, but perhaps inexperienced in the field of culinary. “Again, you need vision and flair if possible, because this is a hard business to endure and there are so many reasons to give up, but if you want to be a great chef, you have to carry on, learn and always want to develop. If there is any advice I can give the younger generation on how to develop it is this; leave the comfort zone, put yourself in danger and embrace the challenge with open arms”.