Masterchef S03 ep9 : Jean Pierre, Bruneau Restaurant, [Brussels]
Interview with Jean Pierre
Two stars shine especially bright in the Capital of Europe’s gastronomic constellation. These are those of Jean-Pierre Bruneau’s restaurant, which for 30 years has been perfecting a culinary art that is unanimously acclaimed by real gourmets. Although he respects tradition and well-known recipes, the chef is always seeking to offer a cuisine that is innovative and imaginative yet excludes any eccentricity. Working with the finest products in the tranquillity of his elegant house, Bruneau is therefore not the least bit proud to offer only the very best to a clientele as loyal as it is cosmopolitan. Not only does the caviar come direct from Iran and the truffles from the Carpentries, but the fish, the shell fish, the meat, the poultry and the game are also chosen with the greatest care. And if the cook receives only the “nec plus ultra” from his numerous suppliers, it is because he has a secret shared by only a few of the country’s restaurateurs today: rising early, in order to go to the morning market, as fresh produce is a guarantee of quality. Maintaining good and strong friendships is equally as important.
I am Jean Pierre Bruneau and I am 66 years old and I’ve been in the restaurant Bruneau for 35
years in Brussels in the same place.
My father and my mother is not from this industry. My father was in the military- a colonel in
the Paratroops but I have the second wife of my grandfather came from a cooking family. I
wasn't a good student at school so my father told me one day, I'll give you 24 hours to get a job,
or he would find a job for me but not in the kitchen. So I went to an employment agency and I
said: Mister I want to get a job in a restaurant. I went to learn for four years in the hotel
restaurant but I have a very hard apprenticeship, very, very, very hard, but I learn a lot at the
time and that is really the most important because I’m learning to work properly with all the
equipment and correct techniques but I was only 15 years old in this time. At 15 years old you
can learn good working habits. When you're 20 years old it's too late and a good apprenticeship
is very, very important.
I work for in first is between Royan in St Etienne and after I work in L'Ebezarde which was
150km from Paris is Le Berge Le Tomplier L'Eberzard, and there I’m learning the French
kitchen because in these times the French kitchen is very different from Belgium kitchen.
In Belgium we don’t use vegetables in the kitchen. In these times we make the kitchen the meat
with sauce with cream, potatoes, you have maybe a "Turbot Mouselline" you have "Tournadour
Rossini" and when I come back in Belgium I like to make vegetable but the people don’t eat
vegetable, they ate the steak, but they remove and leave the vegetable on the table so I start to
mix the vegetable with the meat and with the fish. It’s like that I make Couquege St Jacques
Chiconne is wheat loaf and I mix together because like that the people have to eat the
In the years of ’70, ’75 Gault Millaut [Magazine] say La Nouvelle cuisine, and what is la
nouvelle cuisine in these times? Not complicated but many sauce to mask the product and
everything and what is come with the Gault Millaut? If you buy a fish, a meat, you have to leave
very natural because what is important is the product is fresh, the best meat and the best fish you
have to buy and that is really the nouvelle cuisine.
In a product you have a price/quality level from one to three. If you take sea bass, level one is
from elvage [a dragged net] , level two is caught by the big boats and level three is "line
caught". When we buy level three, the fish is really magnifique, beautiful.
We work with the truffles. You have never summer truffles only the real Melono Sporin truffles
they start on the 15 December to the end of February. We buy a lot and we also process them
into cans so we keep it for years.
I have tomorrow lunch a party for four peoples, we take sea bass with caviar, the caviar we use
is only the best.
I have three staff for 15 years between ’88 and 2002, I have three staff and this times we are
three restaurant, three star in Brussels.
In the mind of people are all these new cooking technologies which is a big problem for this
moment. This Molecular Gastronomy kitchen Fusion. I don’t understand what this accomplishes
with the kitchen for this moment. I’m go very often to these restaurant and many times I feel I
had a big deception.
What is important for the customers is when they leave the restaurant, they remember what
they've eaten . For myself the last best dinner I had is in Alain Ducasse in Paris. You know I'll
remember all my life I eat an Poullard Al Bouferod , when I go back I ask Mr Ducasse, I like to
eat a Poullard Al Bouferod. It’s an emotion you know because when you eat that you say there's
nothing better in the world.
The product have to have the taste what you have to taste. When you make the sauce for the
veal, it’s with Blanc et de veaux, for the lamb is with the lamb, for the pigeon, when I make a
Faux de veaux, it is very neutral. If you put some other it’s taste of other.
I have my style of kitchen and I say where I’m going to change my style to go with the new style
I don’t want because for myself it’s not the best one and I think in few times we come back.
I been 35 years with the market I start here from 5 o’clock in the morning, I see all my
furnisher[supplier]. I know very well everybody and when they see me, they say "Ah yes, for
you yes", because it’s really important to have a contact with the peoples. I say I buy foie gras,
give me all 10kg, maybe I take 2kg and I take everything I say this one, this one, this one and
they just say, I do same for everything. I buy Scottish beef I say give me and I take this one I
want but that is really is possible when they know you and see you. The Supplier thinks to
himself : You see the chef is come 5 o’clock in the morning. It’s a main difference between the
furnisher and the customer.
In Belgium there is Royalty and I am a furnisher to the King. I have to make big dinner for all
the presidents here in the Chateau Von Lichen and we are the Monday and the dinner is the
Friday. And the Monday I don’t have a menu, I don’t know what I have to cook for about 150
people. Monday morning the Queen assistant telephone to me yes the Queen like to come to eat
in the restaurant to make the choice from the menu. They come, I receive them in my private
dining salon upstairs. Three people [including the Queen] arrive. I make plenty of first courses
for them to try - maybe 10 or 12. The Queen ask me " Mr Bruneau ah yes, but I don’t know
really what I should select, Is it possible I come back tonight with the King? She telephones.
Then tells me: "King Albert can come tonight to eat with me to make the choice." I reply, Your
Majesty, my private salon is not free tonight. To which she replies: "Oh, yes is no problems, we
can eat in the restaurant". That night they sat at this table (you’re joking, in the middle of your
dining room, you have the King and Queen of Belgium) yes and this day the Queen have eat two
times in my restaurant.
When the day arrives that I make the dinner , the Lichen Palace is not very far from here and
I’m a regular supplier and go very often, but the dinner is "Somee European" so the Palace this
time is no more Belgium jurisdiction, but is regarded as European jurisdiction. I take my car to
drive to the Palace for lunchtime and we start here for maybe ½ past 10, 11 o’clock. I’m
coming there and at the gate they tell me I don't have a European Pass. But I have to make the
dinner, ah no, no you have to go to the Maison Communal to take a pass and I say sir, the dinner
is in one hour, I phone to the commandant from the palace I say there’s a problems you know I
have to make the dinner, I can't get in, oh my God I forget you have to have a European pass!
Five minutes he’s on the phone and we have all the escort and everything and we go direct in the
Palace, but is one of the funny stories.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Jean Pierre, Bruneau Restaurant, [Brussels]