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The Enchanted Forest: An interview with 2-Michelin Star French Chef Philippe Mille

On April 12 the French Chamber Gala Dinner 2019 hosted 2-Michelin Star Chef Philippe Mille, “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” and “Bocuse de Bronze”. He revealed for us the secrets of his sumptuous dinner, let yourself be seduced by the Enchanted Forest!

Bonjour Chef Mille! Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

With a Bac pro Cuisine and a CAP Pâtissier Confiseur, I won the first prize in the National Artistic Cooking competition in 2008, then the Bocuse d’or bronze medal in 2009, before being named Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best craftsman of France) and elected Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux in 2011. I have had a long way filled with unique experiences, during which I have worked with great Chefs of French gastronomy: Jean Bordier (MOF 1976) at Aubergade, Louis Grondard at Drouant, Frédéric Anton (MOF 2000) at Pré Catelan, Michel Roth (MOF 1991) at Lasserre, Yannick Alléno at Hotel Scribe. I also worked at the Ritz and the Meurice in Paris. I had the opportunity to meet these great Chefs who shared with me their savoir-faire, philosophy, passion and vision of gastronomy. For nine years now, I have been in charge of the two restaurants of Domaine des Crayères, located in the heart of the city of Reims, in Champagne: the restaurant “Le Parc“, with two Michelin stars, and the “Le Jardin” Brasserie.

You have created a menu for the Gala of the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, what inspired you?

The theme of the gala: “The Enchanted Forest“

Have you tried to respect the theme?

Yes, of course. I used products related to the offered theme and it inspired me for the atmosphere and the presentation.

Were the dishes you will serve specially created for the occasion?

Yes, they are unique!

Is it a challenge for you to cook for more than 500 people?

Yes. To create with a new team, to work in a new kitchen, to serve people from first to last in the same way, it’s always a challenge.

The seasons are very different between France and Singapore, is there a seasonality that you wanted to favour in this menu?

Seasonality is very important, in order to obtain a better taste quality. I have no preference between Singaporean or French seasonality, but we will work today with seasonal products from Singapore, produced from local agriculture that respects the environment.

This is not your first time in Singapore, what do you think of this gastronomic capital? Did you have any favorites, “coups de coeur’’?

It is an ideal city for a gastronomic stay. Singapore is an ultra-dynamic city, with a huge choice of establishments to discover. More than 30 restaurants have been rewarded by the Michelin Guide, allowing us to discover a local cuisine, but also a cuisine from elsewhere.

My favorites in the city? Gardens by the Bay, the gigantic garden with huge greenhouses, where we can admire beautiful flowers and trees. This garden has a high passageway that provides an unobstructed view of the park.

Concerning my gastronomic favourites, it’s tough to say. I have not yet had time to discover all the choices available in this very dynamic city.

Do you like to travel in Asia, have you imported culinary products or techniques into France? Do you want to work in the region?

I am used to travelling in Asia: I have indeed opened a restaurant in Japan. I try to regularly import techniques and products in order to adapt them to the kitchen at home.

You are the chef of the restaurant Le Parc du domaine Les Crayères in Reims, what is the dish of the moment?

Bergerie des Ardennes, carré d’Agneau de la famille Cogniard

Asperges vertes cuites sur la grillade, zestes d’agrumes

Jus d’épaule infusé à l’ail des ours de nos sous-bois

You hold several prestigious titles: Bocuse de bronze 2009, MOF, 2 stars in the Michelin Guide… What’s next?

Good question… We’ll see about that!

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