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Exclusive Interview with newest Chef Alliance’s member Xavier Boyer

Exclusive Interview with newest Chef Alliance’s member Xavier Boyer
Exclusive Interview with newest Chef Alliance’s member Xavier Boyer

Executive Head Chef at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, London, Xavier Boyer is the new member of the Chef Alliance network

Passionate about working with carefully selected small producers, Xavier’s seasonal dishes are deliciously uncomplicated and beautifully presented. His menus change very regularly and his fresh eye enables him to present ingredients in a new light. Whilst reflecting the ‘simplicity is best’ food philosophy of the master chef Joel Robuchon himself, Xavier claims that there should be ‘no more than four components to a dish’. Xavier has lead Joel Robuchon kitchens in Asia, Europe and America. His current role is a return to London L’Atelier, as he was involved in the launch of the restaurant in 2008. He gave us an interview, in which he talks about his background, his passion for cooking and childhood memories about food.

What is your dearest memory related to food?

My dearest memory relating to food is definitely of my grandmother and her incredible apricot tart, which she still makes for me when I go and visit her. She is the only person I know that makes it the way she does and it really is the best apricot tart I have ever tasted. She makes the pastry with oil rather than butter giving it a really delicious crunch, and she also uses almond paste. The combination and contrast of all of the textures and flavours is just wonderful, it really is extraordinarily special.

If you had to nominate a Forgotten Food which one would it be?

From the UK, I would definitely nominate the Berkshire Pig, which is already a Forgotten Food that Slow Food UK works hard to protect. But if I could also nominate one from France, I would put forward the parsnip. Similarly to the Berkshire Pig, parsnips were really popular during the Second World War but, since that time they have become somewhat forgotten about and nowadays they’re not at all common in France.

What is the best part of your job?

For me, it’s the sharing of knowledge. I have been taught so many things from the amazing chefs I have worked with over the years, and of course from Joel Robuchon. So I absolutely love sharing this knowledge with other people, and helping them to create wonderful dishes.

What does the Slow Food movement mean to you?

For me, the work that the Slow Food movement does is invaluable.
It’s so important that we all take responsibility in helping to spread the message of good, clean and fair food. In particular, and from my point of view as a chef, the Slow Food movement really encourages restaurants to work very closely with small producers and of course, this is every chef’s dream. It’s the job of the restaurant to earn the right to use these producers’ ingredients, it’s such a privilege to be able to create wonderful dishes with them.

You have returned to London after cooking in Joel Robuchon’s restaurants around the world, what is it that you love about cooking here?

I am excited to cook everywhere in the world, but what I really love about London and the UK is how it’s become the capital of Europe in terms of gastronomy, which was not considered the case when I was first here 13 years ago. People from all around the world come to London and taste the food here. It’s an incredibly exciting place to cook as it continues to evolve and become more diverse and competitive.

Xavier is going to cook a special Ark of Taste menu at the London Restaurant Festival 2014! 

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