One of the world’s most decorated chefs throughout the decade, Pierre Gagnaire was at the forefront of the fusion cuisine movement and was one of the first to embrace the idea of food as art.
Today his restaurants are among the most popular on the culinary scene, from Sketch in London to Pierre Gagnaire in Paris and Tokyo and Pierre in Hong Kong. His 16 establishments span the globe.
What does Christmas mean to you … Family, snow. I have a restaurant in the mountains in Courchevel, which brings back good memories. When I was a kid, my family had a hotel in Val d’Isère, which is certainly the most famous ski resort in the Alps, so Christmas always reminds me of snow.
My favourite place to be at Christmas ... is with my family in our house on a small island, Belle Île en Mer, off Brittany. It is fantastic, as we have to take a boat there – but in winter, it is not easy because of the weather, and sometimes it is not possible for the boat to come back. My family is large so we must create these kinds of moments. Time is short, time goes quickly, so we must pay attention to these occasions. I try to have three days with my family, but this year I can’t go, as I am too busy.
My favourite Christmas memory … was when I was given a green bicycle. It was fantastic. I was six or seven years old.
The most important part of Christmas is ... the atmosphere, as Christmas should be special. Paying attention to the dinner, but I am Catholic, so it is not always about food. I like to go to Mass. Christmas is about tenderness, peace, not just the gifts. It’s about our attitude – sure, it’s nice to have napkins, turkey, goose liver, sometimes caviar, why not? But sometimes it could be just soup, but the soup should be good.
Who cooks at Christmas … I cook the Christmas dinner, I am always in the kitchen. My wife hates cooking.
My favourite Christmas dinner items ... Oysters, bread, Bresse roast chicken – I don’t like turkey. We have a nice cake, la Bûche de Noël, and, of course, wine is important.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? ... It’s too early to say at the moment.