Au menu de l'éco-gastronomie
Chefs are never short of ideas, and more of them are helping to make the world a better place by cooking up new techniques, creative approaches and best practices.
Par Lionel Leoty
Le chef Emmanuel Pilon a converti la brigade du Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à la lacto-fermentation en bocal.
Respecting the seasons, prioritising local food, implementing zero-waste and zero-plastic policies: eco-responsible cuisine is gaining ground in the wake of the slow food movement. Chefs know what the challenges are and strive to think and create in new ways using ground-breaking techniques. They are also looking back to more ancestral practices that may have been forgotten. Sealed terracotta pots are replacing sous-vide cooking gadgets. Storage containers are made from plant-based materials, glass jars are set aside to ferment and mature fruit and vegetables with lactic acid. Nothing is thrown away. Peelings and carcasses are used to make broths, vinegars, kombuchas and are concentrates with each product.
Emmanuel Pilon glorifies plant-based foods in his dishes and relegates protein to second place. This creative chef uses a jus made with vegetable peelings to create a salad dressing that he combines with “olive leather”. This unusual ingredient is none other than the deposit left in the bottom of the tanks when the oil has been decanted.
Meats are matured or even hibernated for several weeks or months to enhance their nutty taste and texture. Fish are also matured, especially at Ceto, a seafood restaurant run by chef Mauro Colagreco and his executive chef Andrea Moscardino. Both have developed a system of conservation by maturing tuna belly and other fish to create a product with unique flavour, depth and mouthfeel.
Sauces are changing too, influenced by the garum made by the Romans in Pompeii. This speciality uses the flesh or organs from fish and is fermented in plenty of salt to keep it stable. Maxime Leconte, the young chef cooking at Domaine du Mas de Pierre’s Table de Pierre, enjoys working with the condiment because it brings a touch of saltiness to the meat. Christophe Schmitt, a Michelin-starred chef at Faventia in Terre Blanche, uses it in his vinaigrette with avocado to intensify the flavour of his Carabineros prawns.