Masterchef S04 ep2 : Christophe Cussac, Restaurant Joel Robuchon, [Monte Carlo]

Interview with Christophe Cussac

Joël Robuchon, offers a Mediterranean-accented, sophisticated and accessible cuisine, executed by Head Chef Christophe Cussac, in which the emphasis is on the produce. The open Teppanyaki-style kitchen creates a special relationship between the Chef and the guests. Executive Chef Christophe Cussac had worked for several years with Joël Robuchon before he became the Executive Chef of Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo with the two Michelin starred restaurant Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo and the one Michelin starred Yoshi. Christophe Cussac is a true expert in the Mediterranean and Provence cuisine and spent six years as the Executive Chef for the two Michelin starred La Réserve de Beaulieu before he returned to work with Joël Robuchon.


Joel Robuchon restaurant is a new concept of eating out , built on the simplicity authenticity and accountability of cooking and
the customer expectation for the year 2000. Mr. Robuchon thought about than anticipated the customers’ needs. A simple style
of cuisine using tasty products presented with no unnecessary extras. This can first of all be seen from the plate itself. The
simple, tasty recipes and after that it can also be experienced in the atmosphere, that’s why the workshops were set up.
Workshops were open in 2003 in Paris and Tokyo at the same time and in here in 2004.

In the workshop, the customer is in direct communication with the kitchen and the chefs. They can share ideas and customers
see exactly what they are getting.

Why did I choose cooking? Because I was born into it. My parents had a hotel with the restaurant in Chatelle in Burgundy. So I
was born and raised in that atmosphere. So it was therefore natural to remain in that atmosphere or business. Later on, I
became really passionate about cooking.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

I enjoyed cooking but I never made cakes tied to my mother’s apron strings. Even though I was brought up in that business,
when you’re a teenager, you don’t really know what you want to do. I attended catering school, I learnt the basics of cookery.
My first job was at La Concorde La Fayette with Mr. Robuchon after my military service.He was looking for someone to fill a very
specific position called kitchen secretary. So I took a job as kitchen secretary.Ninety cooks and a very specific structural
organization. I wasn’t really cooking anymore, but I was in the kitchen. It was interesting and it enabled me to understand how a
kitchen is organized. Something you don’t have time to do when you’re actually cooking. And it’s true for a time, I wondered
whether I should opt for a more managerial position at La Concorde La Fayettein Paris, like cost control or accounting or stay in
the kitchen. So I asked Mr. Robuchon and after you know, as I really didn’t know what to do. Mr. Robuchon, I asked,“What
should I do?” He said, “Christophe your parents have a hotel, it may be yours one day.Stay with cooking as it constitutes the
very soul of an establishment”. So I said, “Thanks for your advice”. And I went back to cooking.

When we are at school we learn the basics. When we work we learn the basics, but then I really got down to my job as a
chef.And it’s true that meeting Joel Robuchon the master made me realize what I really wanted to do. Later he made me
understand the meaning of excellence and how it’s possible to do once best in this field. I chose this career path, so I’ll do it
well. If I had chosen to be a singer or a guitarists, I also would have done it well.

This style of cuisine favors the product itself. After that we have to bring out the best of their produce. Great culinary know-how
facilitates good cooking and good eating. But after that it’s a combination of three tastes, three flavors which are
complimentary. The product or the dish may seem simple, but the combination through the source, the vegetables, and the
spices is what makes the difference. The association must be well balanced, which is not easy. Without criticizing other styles of
cooking as all cooking styles are interesting, I want to speak about the one I know and like. It’s necessary to balance those three
tastes. If one is not good, the dish will go back to zero. So what is interesting is playing with accuracy which will trigger the
pleasure, the pleasure of tasting. If you have a plate with eight different tastes, the customer will say yes that’s nice or no that’s
not. It’s fun, but there is no osmosis, you don’t get a high quality finished product.Working with only three flavors on a plate is
more difficult and demands more accuracy, but you obtain the finished product, that is how I would characterize this cuisine. It
is a simple, straightforward appearance, but behind that is a great deal of work to get the right balance. Which has to be
reproduced day after day, at lunch time and in the evening.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

My professional path has been unusual. I trained with Mr. Robuchon and after that I went off on my own to my parent’s
restaurant, to the Reserve De Belleau. When Mr. Robuchon launched his project, he asked me if I was interested in coming back
to work with him. I accepted immediately of course. As I said earlier, it was a new concept. He’s always been a forerunner, and
he’s 10 years ahead of the others. It’s interesting because it was something new rather than being a chef entrenched in my
cuisine and kitchen working with the same old product. So it’s really appealed to me, my reply was double fold. I make some of
Mr. Robuchon’s most famous dishes which everyone knows. Like cauliflower cream and caviar jelly, crayfish pepalos which we’ll
see later on, Ravioli. I have also included dishes which were of my own creationand reflectmy identity.This combination of both
styles being one of Joel Robuchon’s pupildoesn’t create a culinary rift, but does give that cuisine a personal sensitivity. It’s true
that the recipe that I used at Belleau is on the menu. Sardines, which is quite special tasting, but is a firm favorite. Mr.
Robuchon’s recipe like the ones I mentioned previously, are also on the menu.

Mr. Robuchon’s workshop allows each chef to have his freedom, freedom to create. He lets all the chefs cookin the style of their
choice. He monitors it, and then validates it. What is interesting is that a recipe followed and achieved in Hong Kong or in Las
Vegas may come back to Monaco. There is a pooling of work and ideas, we are open to ideas. We are no longer chefs isolated in
our own individual restaurants, it’s evolving all the time. They are products, associations, seasonings, presentations which are
shared. This cuisine is in constant movement, it’s contemporary, it’s modern and that is also thanks to an influence which is
unique to each of us.

Jewellery Theatre Elements

We’re often under Mr. Robuchon’s impetus. He’s very observant, we might talk about this product or that, because with his chef
Mr. Eric Bochsuavehe might say, yes that seems interesting for a recipe from Monaco, yes it’s Mediterranean style. In a way
things are never static.

Here one can sample the most famous dishes of Joel Robuchon, It’s located in Monaco and looks over the Mediterranean. They
are dishes on the menu specific to the Mediterranean. I make a Larose Bomburecipe, it’s like a version of Paella but cooked like
Risotto. The rice is crunchier and made in the way. The inspiration may come from anything around the Mediterranean. But
there must be and there always are dishes that represent the Mediterranean that you won’t find anywhere else.


Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

It’s true that working in an open kitchen changes the way we behave in comparison to the way we behave if we are a chef in a
closed kitchen. We try to work as quietly as possible on a daily basis, even if the service creates a great deal of pressure. But
there is the notion of a performance, where customers can see us working. It’s a bit like the need to be on a stage with a guitar
or a piano. We are in the kitchen and it’s a pleasure to be interacting with the clients. When we are working and the room is full,
we hear laughter and speaking all around us. It drives us forward because we get immediate feedback. People are happy, our
cooking gives them something to focus on. So that motivates us like it might for somebody that does amateur dramatics. And
when clients come to see what we are doing, we might say to ourselves, hey yes that’s interesting they want to know. And it’s
true that in Monaco we have a fantastic clientele who are inn Monaco today, but who could be in Tokyo tomorrow, or New
York. So they are in the know. Their comments and feedback is very valuable to us.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Christophe Cussac, Restaurant joel Robuchon, [Monte Carlo]