Conversations with Alain Senderens, one of France’s greatest chefs
In this episode: Inspirations and other countries
This is a video series in six parts:
- Senderens and wine
- Paring wine and food
- A long career in gastronomy
- Gastronomy, and the restaurant business
- People around Alain Senderens
- Inspirations and other countries
The series is based on short videos that I recorded when I met Senderens at his restaurant.
The conversations are in French but you can choose your language in the YouTube videos:
- Turn on “closed captions” by clicking on the CC icon in the lower right-hand corner
- Select your preferred language by clicking the cogwheel icon and selecting the Subtitles/CC language (NB: you have to do it in this order)
You can also read the article about Alain Senderens that was the result of this meeting. It was originally published in a different version in Chef Magazine, now published in a more complete version on Forbes and an extended version on Alain Senderens on BKWine Magazine.
The text introductions below are just that, introductions to what you can find on the videos. It is obviously not complete transcriptions.
Inspirations and other countries
On Swedish gastronomy
Senderens generally prefers to create dishes with a certain simplicity. If once it was the norm to work with three accompaniments, or even more, he thinks two is the maximum, or even less. Too complex dishes hide and mix tastes and flavours.
A pioneer for Japanese inspiration and for Buddhism
In 1976 Senderens goes to Japan for the first time. He brings back Japanese products and starts cooking with Japanese inspiration. He likes the purity and the quality of the products. In addition he feels a little attracted to Buddhism. Simplicity requires a lot of work to be successful. An intellectual work. Japanese inspiration and Buddhism.
Where does the inspiration come from?
Besides Jacques Puisais for wine, Senderens does not think he was inspired by particular people but more by events and meetings.
Conversations with Alain Senderens, one of the greatest chefs in France. Throughout his career Senderens was a pioneer in French cuisine and especially for the pairing of food and wine. He was one of the first (maybe the first?) to propose a “wine menu” with a different wine to each dish. It was Senderens who gave wine the place it deserved at the table. He also jostled and shocked the gastronomic establishment of France when, in 2005, he “returned” his three Michelin stars to make French haute cuisine more democratic. His restaurant, that carried his name “Alain Senderens” on Place de la Madeleine, nevertheless remained one of the best restaurants in France, but with less luxury. He was also one of the great modernizers of the gastronomy and restaurant business in France, one of the founders of the nouvelle cuisine, and much more.
Alain Senderens died on June 25, 2017. The conversations were recorded on November 10, 2011 at the restaurant Alain Senderens on the Place de la Madeleine in Paris.