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Anne-Sophie Pic: New France’s Culinary Queen [2021]

anne-sophie-pic
Anne-Sophie Pic

Anne-Sophie Pic, one of the rare women to receive three stars in the Michelin Guide, is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable Chefs in French and world cuisine.

The chef, who at 50 years old, is considered the queen of French cuisine.

A very fitting title for the professional who is the only chef to take her restaurants to the incredible mark of eight stars of the most relevant gastronomic guide on the planet. The Michelin Guide.

In addition to running the kitchen and managing the Maison Pic in Valence, Anne-Sophie Pic also works four other restaurants in Valence, Paris, Lausanne, London, and a sixth just opened in Singapore.

The Centenary Gastronomic Dynasty of Anne-Sophie Pic 

A success story began to be built by his great-grandmother Sophie precisely 132 years ago in 1889 when she opened a simple inn called Café-Restaurant du Pin. 

A restaurant that gained recognition and fame in the hands of his eldest son André Pic after being apprenticed in Paris. At 20, he became Chef Saucier at the famous Hotel d’Orsay and returned to the inn to take over the kitchen and later moved it to Route Nationale 7, France’s own Route 66, the main road between Paris and the Riviera.

In 1934, the Michelin Guide awarded the restaurant three stars, elevating André Pic to the status of France’s greatest chef. It was a legitimate recognition of his prestigious specialties: The crayfish gratin and the boudin Richelieu, a classic pique quenelle in Nantua sauce.

However, as stories are not made only with glories, the third star was removed after the great war that ravaged the world and was only recovered by his son and Anne-Sophie‘s father, Jacques Pic, in 1973.

Jacques Pic created one of the first tasting menus, the Rabelais menu, and numerous inventive dishes such as the Orange and Grand Marnier iced soufflé.

With his untimely death in 1992, the family restaurant Maison Pic passed to the command of Alain, Anne-Sophie’s brother, and once again, in 1995, the restaurant’s third star was removed.

The Dynasty Under the Command of Anne-Sophie Pic

Anne-Sophie Pic, who graduated from an ISG (general satisfaction index) management school in Paris because she wanted to work in the luxury trade, had never thought of following the family tradition, let alone taking over the dynasty.

However, her father’s death and her brother’s failure led her and her husband, David Sinapian, to take over the family restaurant in 1998. He was in charge of the management, and she was in charge of the kitchen. 

It was here that her never before imagined gift blossomed, combining delicacy and intuition in the creation of dishes that reminded her of her childhood memories.

She won back her third star with her work nine years after taking over the kitchen at Maison Pic in 2007, becoming the only female chef in France to receive this well-deserved distinction. 

And, it didn’t stop there!

He also won two more stars for his restaurant at the Beau-Rivage hotel in Lausanne, one for La Dame de Pic in Paris, and two more for another restaurant with the same name in London, England. 

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The Kitchen Of Anne-Sophie Pic

Anne-Sophie Pic started cooking in 1992 with her father shortly before his death. When she took over the kitchen at the Maison Pic, she had a difficult apprenticeship in a kitchen.

There were only men on the squad, and they were very resistant to her, primarily because of her position of command. 

A rather difficult start to her career that only earned her positive reviews praising the maturity and consistency after three years of hard and courageous work.

And the result of the outcropping of his hereditary, natural, and self-taught culinary art transformed the menu. 

“When I started, I focused on the future, not the past; I needed to forge my own culinary identity.” – Anne-Sophie Pic.

She removed some of her grandfather’s and father’s dishes from the menu but drawn by a nostalgic solid feeling, and she returned to the past bringing back dishes from the family culinary legacy with new interpretations. 

A cuisine that transmits emotions by innovating the association of flavors without ever leaving aside the tradition of French gastronomy.

“In France, we have a very rich heritage. But we cannot remain focused on the past. It is important to pass on everything we have to future generations. For example, I love working with some forgotten vegetable varieties, and I manage to integrate this tradition into a more contemporary line of my cuisine.” – Anne-Sophie Pic.

Anne-Sophie Pic‘s kitchen is guided by the concept of harmony, where each element performs its function with boldness and assertive meticulous precision. 

“That is the real challenge: to be bold in the kitchen, but always preserving harmony.” – Anne-Sophie Pic.

For her, cooking should be emotional, and for that to happen the taste of the food needs to have a taste that has a beginning and an end as long as possible.

It accomplishes perfection in its dishes with unique botanical touches and flavor combinations that emotionally strike its customers.  

Like the famous Les berlingots, prepared in triangular pastry shapes imitating the hard pastries of berlingot and lightly smoked with Banon Provençal cheese made from goat’s milk, tasty, ravioli-like parcels float on a watercress consomé topped with layers of ginger and bergamot. 

And yet, other dishes just as famous, such as the Lobsters combined with white heather honey, wild turbot with soursop leaves and cinnamon and beef with gin and soba cha, a roasted buckwheat tea, and the l’huitre Tarbouriech, a dish consisting of a curious fusion of oysters, coffee and whisky.

And of course, the Le mille-feu feuille blanc, a dessert that harks back to a monochromatic vision in white. A cube of puff pastry topped with Tahitian vanilla cream accented with kumquat confit and Timut pepper foam on the plate.

Anne-Sophie Pic‘s great culinary daring adds to the sensitive use of herbs unimaginable and perfectly balanced combinations of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. 

Anne-Sophie Pic, the queen of French cuisine, favors the techniques of classic French cooking, with new lightness and complexity that brings unusual and unforgettable flavors to her dishes. 

“When I create my flavoring palette, to check if the flavors are matching, I sometimes have revelations. Then I try to leave those flavors as intact as possible, in a broth, an infusion, or a butter. That’s how one day I discovered the flavor of autumn with the combination of pine, juniper, and bergamot. So it was a flavor that reproduced an emotion I felt while walking in a wood.” – Anne-Sophie Pic.

Maison Pic – The 3 Star Restaurant Of Anne-Sophie Pic

Listed among the 50 best restaurants in the world, the starred Maison Pic is located just outside Valence in the Rhone Valley, France. A rather dull location for a culinary spot so famous, so prestigious, and so requested by the French and travelers from all over the world. 

The kitchen is stunning and with a beautiful view through floor-to-ceiling windows to an even more stunning garden. 

Anne-Sophie Pic‘s workplace where she prepares delicately constructed lunch and dinner services, layer by layer, step by step as if leading the creation of a powerful, tranquil, and harmonious work of art. 

The process of cutting the vegetables begins with a julienne cut to be then diced into even more delicate brunoise pieces. 

The dishes are washed with white gloves. 

And, before service begins, the sommelier and his Chefs are consulted on the best flavor combinations of seasonal ingredients.

Both from nearby regions: Auvergne, Rhône, and the Alps, as well as from more distant locations such as Provence and Corsica. 

And a comfortably elegant, open, and airy lounge with tables lined with steam-ironed towels where guests sample the tastiest dishes of modern French cuisine. 

Anne-Sophie Pic Beyond Maison Pic

In addition, to the iconic Maison Pic, Anne-Sophie Pic runs André, a casual bistro named after her grandfather, also located in Valence, one-star restaurants in Paris, two two-star restaurants, one in London, and the other in Lausanne in Switzerland.

Also, he runs a cooking school, a Convenience Store, two quick-service establishments called Daily Pic, and the newly opened restaurant in Singapore.

It’s no wonder that Anne-Sophie Pic is the queen of French cuisine.

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