Christine Delmar: How did your love for cuisine come about?
Guy Martin: Nothing in my family prepared me for it. But one
day in a small restaurant I used to work for, I had a revelation while
I was looking at the finished dishes. I understood that cooking was
a way to express oneself, that it dealt with personal creation. I
then proceeded to study all the recipes from a cookbook I had at home
to better understand the basics of being a chef and to understand
what cooking was all about.
CD: It seems that understanding is a permanent quest for you.
Is it this need to understand that pushes you into doing personal
GM: It is important to me to position myself and my cuisine with
the trends, especially towards food trends. In my opinion, cooking
is a job of sharing. Preparing food for someone is a loving act. If
you do not understand the other person, you cannot serve him or her
well. This is why I studied the major food trends from prehistoric
times until today, as well as the culinary culture of Savoie where
I grew up. For the past 6 years, I have also tried to understand trends
such as vegetarianism and diets.
CD: What conclusions have you come to?
GM: I do not feel that diets are serious. There is no medical
truth to this matter, but there is such an intense social pressure
to be thin. It has not always been this way. In the days of Rubens
and Renoir, the nudes they painted were quite voluptuous
we really should learn to accept ourselves as we are. Personally,
I can eat 4 meals a day including desserts and still be thin. This
is human nature. Anyhow, I am firmly convinced that when you enjoy
eating, you gain less weight.
CD: What do you do with your research studies? Do you publish
GM: No, I burn them. Because what is true today may not be
true tomorrow. And once I have come to my conclusions, the thought
process no longer interests me
CD: Lets talk about when the Red Guide 2000 awarded you
with three stars. How did you react to the third star?
GM: At first, it gave me a great deal of serenity. It was as
if time had stopped, as if everything made sense, as if I was on the
right path. Once these emotions passed, I wanted to dance on tables,
to let my joy explode. The third star establishes me as a chef, it
settles me down. It is also an inspiration for kids from small towns
who aspire to be chefs, but do not have contacts in prestigious restaurants.
My third star proves that you can be among the best while being self-educated
and atypical. If one does this job with poetry and pleasure, anything
CD: You were never trained by the great chefs. Where does your
inspiration come from?
GM: I am lucky to work near the Louvre Museum. I go there often
in the afternoons after lunch. Paintings really inspire me. For a
book that will be published at the end of this year, I created 50
recipes to complement 50 works of art, all of which I personally chose,
from Neolithic frescoes to contemporary paintings. In the book, on
one page, there will be the reproduction of the painting, and on the
other, will be my recipe, one being the illustration of the other.
I especially love the impressionists. Their sense of color and of
general harmony helps me to create new dishes. A new idea suddenly
explodes within me subconsciously. I need to write it down immediately,
otherwise another idea comes up and I forget the previous one. Actually,
I dont write the idea down, I draw it.
CD: How many times a year is your à la carte menu modified?
Are there dishes that never change?
GM: The à la carte menu changes each season. Not counting
the daily menus, we cook close to 100 different dishes a year. There
are 4 dishes which never change: Foie Gras Ravioli with a Creamy Truffle
Sauce, Cod with Garam Massala-Coconut Sauce, Oxtail-Truffle Shepherds
Pie, Artichoke Tart with Vegetable Confit and Bitter Almond Sorbet.
CD: Sometimes your dishes have traditional accents, sometimes
GM: My cuisine is modern and lively. I love the sweet and the
savory mixed, the mélange of pepper and vanilla. Spices give
a touch of color. The flavors invite you on a journey.
CD: A dessert based upon vegetables is quite original.
GM: Why? We make appetizers and entrées with fruit.
It is essential to free yourself from taboos, from the forbidden.
Why should we limit cuisine to what we know? By nature, cuisine is
open. When I think of a recipe, I never have prefixed ideas. Only
the result matters: it is good or it is not. It is in this same state
of mind that until last year I practiced extreme sports. When you
push your limits, you feel greater pleasures. I love vegetables and
desserts. So it is natural for me to try to marry them. In fact, I
love vegetables so much that I have dedicated a whole recipe book
CD: What are your plans for the future?
GM: I never make plans. I live from one day to the next. My
only goal is to refine my cuisine, to get rid of all pretensions and
to get to the essence of this art.