Brittany on the Table
Epic tales of Brittany and the hinterland, of the earth and the sea, and of the Cape Horners: these are what I wanted to communicate through my cuisine. Just before dawn, I would get up and go to the market, meeting the fishing boats as they came in and began auctioning the day's catch. Soon, I began working with Paul Renault, who specialized in pigeons, ducks, and a regional race of chicken called "Coucou de Rennes"; with the Bocel family, who have been market gardeners for generations; and with Annie Bertin, who grew rare herbs at a time when people hardly knew what basil was. A menu should be designed from the products available at the market — such was my perspective. Life at the market was fascinating: I loved listening to Monsieur Robin tell me how the plants that suffer a bit are tastier than the ones that grow fast.
I wanted to tell the story of Brittany and its inland, the sea and the land, the saga of the Cape Horn adventurers

Joseph Pichot, Michel Daniel, Annick Prud’homme, the oyster farmers, and the fishmongers each entrusted me with their goods, and Madame Libouban even agreed to provide small amounts of fish on credit. Shellfish came from the Couapels, and sometimes the Gesbet family would take me with them to fish for brown shrimp. Later, it was Didier Faberge who provided me with clams. Cuisine is essentially made up of all of these relationships, which develop over time. Then finally it was Taka Hata, a Japanese friend whom I'd met with Gérard Vié, who helped me open the Maison de Bricourt. He explained the sacred nature of living beings, all the while inspiring me to welcome chefs from all corners of the world.

My cuisine is the result of these bonds created with the fishermen, farmers, market gardeners...

During that time, I happened to meet an academic who was writing a PhD thesis on the French East India Company. He began listing everything that had come through Saint-Malo in its history: fine silks, celadon stoneware, and even, in one record… fourteen spices! Everything made sense. Cuisine, the sea, the dreams of far-away lands — these were all of my childhood passions! The first spice blend I designed was called "Retour des Indes", in an attempt to convey the history of Brittany as a land that has grown with the histories of overseas journeys. Matching the spices with scallops and the cabbage from the fields near the ocean, I then added applesauce, and a bit of mango, and the new dish was complete. That was how I would tell my story. What I had sought was a cuisine written in the style of a grand adventure novel, and that was what spices allowed me to do.

With the spices, everything came together: the cuisine, the sea, the otherworldliness, all of my childhood passions!
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