The Taste of Life
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School no longer interested me. Being stuck in bed for a year only made me want to get up, and out: breathing, smelling, seeing, and feeling the world quiver with life. One evening my friends were over, along with Jane (who would later become my wife). My mother was cooking dinner, and I was struck with the realization that what I had been searching for was right under my nose — cuisine. I could use it to express myself. My newfound appetite for books on the subject became insatiable. I read about Antonin Carême, and all of his light sauces, and Edouard Nigeon, the chef from Nantes who had a penchant for exotic delights. I experimented with everything, and even went to work for a season at a restaurant in Cancale. Later, it was in Saint-Malo that I learned how to master the art of the stove and of making a good beurre blanc without cream. After passing the CAP diploma, I met André Eslan (otherwise known as Dédé), who would become my second-in-command.
I told myself that i twas my turn to cook

Then, at the Palais restaurant, it was Marc Tizon who really taught me how cuisine could be a meduim for expression in and of itself. Jane had just finished her studies in pharmaceutical work, and I owe all of our dynamism and vigour to her. At the Château de la Corniche near Mantes-la-Jolie, I came in contact with André Guillot and his culinary style that is based on simplicity, modesty, and flavour. Time spent at the Trois Marches in Versailles allowed me to experiment with seasonal variations, and the cult of making beautiful products. After speaking with Gérard Vié about my desire to open up a restaurant of my own, he helped me develop my relationships with journalists. Jane and I got married in February 1981. In August of the same year, I spent fifteen days with Guy Savoy, who is known for his deglazing techniques, using some of the nicest jus in the world. Finally, I returned to Cancale in order to open the Maison de Bricourt restaurant.

I was trying many different things, cooking became my way of expressing myself

April 1982 began with me setting up shop in my father's old clinic, and together with Jane, we moved under the rafters. Dédé and his wife took the laundry room. My mother was both the dining room manager and dessert chef, and Dédé's partner did the dishes. When Jane came home from the pharmacy at lunchtime, she would serve tables, and then when she came home in the evening, she would help with the dinner service. We kept up that pace for five years straight! It wasn't a shift; it was a family. But it was difficult, and so many times did I feel like shouting in pain from the inability to make my dreams come to life. Ten years would go by before I would be able to master my own expression.

When I opened the Maison de Bricourt, we were not a team, we were a family
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