Alexandre Gauthier’s boldly innovative style shows little relationship to the formality of French haute cuisine. And despite his restaurant’s setting in the countryside of the Pas-de-Calais region, it owes little to French home cooking. Instead, while fully committed to ingredients that would be familiar in any French kitchen, the chef repurposes traditional techniques—or invents new ones—to surprise the senses.
Gauthier seems to have a gift both for for pairing textures and contrasting flavors. A dish of eggplant matches the vegetable’s charred, dried, and powdered skin with its pureed smoky flesh and unctuous cod liver. Saffron milkcap mushrooms are served with an apricot-tangerine juice emulsion and dollops of red salmon caviar. Yellow beets and yellow tomatoes are dressed with vinegar and pulverized pork skin.
It’s intricate, detailed cooking, as one might expect in a great French restaurant, but it is also cooking that is fully aware of the curiosity displayed by chefs in Spain, the Nordic countries, and elsewhere.
Exposed spine hardcover. Color photographs throughout.