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A quintessentially French chef de cuisine : an interview with Chef Roland Durand

In an exclusive showcase of French cooking mastery, Ginette Restaurant and Wine Bar welcomes award-winning Chef Roland Durand to dazzle dinner guests with his Asian-inspired rendition of the classic French menu.

So Chic invited Chef Durand to share some personal thoughts about the art of his national cuisine, stepping into his esteemed role and who he would prepare an intimate dinner for.

How would you define French cuisine in your own words?

French cuisine has very old roots, but it is nonetheless constantly evolving while staying open to the influences of other cuisines. A strong pillar of French cuisine is the quality of the ingredients it requires.

Having been at the helm for a long time, what are the challenges you still face as a chef?

As a consulting chef, I do not have any restaurants in France anymore; instead, I focus on my culinary consulting to promote French cuisine around the world. I would say that the overall weight of taxes and regulations placed on food prices keeps increasing, which of course, would have a negative impact on business.

I focus on my culinary consulting to promote French cuisine around the world.
Chef Roland Durand

It seems tough to manage a restaurant and maintain a love affair with the art of gastronomy – what is your advice for colleagues in this industry?

I would simply advise them to go out as often as possible to see what is happening out there, take the opportunity to make new contacts and keep growing the relationships one has with their colleagues. The passion we have for food, the art of gastronomy is meant to be shared, whatever the form it takes.

Looking back on your career, what do you enjoy most about your job?

I do enjoy meeting with my fellow colleagues, my suppliers. As mentioned earlier, it is important to share. I am lucky to be able to travel a lot for work, and discovering new places, lifestyles, food scenes and ingredients are an essential part of my career. Lastly, I love giving pleasure to my customers through the dishes I cook; one cannot be a chef and not enjoy delighting their clients.

What is your favourite simple dish to prepare?

In spring, it’s asparagus with vinaigrette dressing. In the summer, I enjoy making Caesar salad. In autumn, I love pan-cooking wild mushrooms. And in winter, my favourite is truffle omelette. To each season, a different French seasonal produce!

What do you think are the most important ingredients in Asian and Western cuisine?

In Asian cuisine, I would say ginger, coriander, tamarind, pepper, chilli, soy sauce, fish sauce, noodles, rice, coconut milk and so much more!
As for Western cuisine, of course, it would be butter, cream, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, Emmental cheese, wine, thyme, laurel, different types of vinegar, onion, garlic and lamb.

What Singaporean dishes are you looking forward to trying?

I really want to taste laksa, black pepper crab and chicken rice – do you know good places where I can have that?

This question never gets old: If you could invite 4 famous people to your home for dinner, who are they and what meal would you prepare?

Without hesitation, Clint Eastwood, Roger Fédérer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. I would cook veal tartar and scampi, mushroom soup with coconut milk, roasted Bresse chicken with lettuce heart salad and potato gratin. To finish, rice pudding à l’Angélique with cardamom ice cream!

For three nights only from June 18-20, guests at Ginett can experience Chef Durand’s classic French menu with an Asian twist. Dishes are offered a la carte or in a three-course dinner menu with optional wine pairing! Limited seats still available for 19 June. Hurry, book your seats here!

French Shopping, Dining & Lifestyle guide in Singapore