Interview between Jean-Christian Dumonet, chef and owner of restaurants Joséphine-Chez Dumonet (Paris 75006) and Les Jardins de Joséphine (roof-top of Grande Arche de La Défense) and Alexandre Fünfrock.
Jean-Christian Dumonet : So, what is your assessment of this year of CAP at Ferrandi and in my restaurant?
Alexandre Fünfrock : Informative and grueling.
It is banal to say that vocational training is qualifying but when it concerns a sector as intimate and delectable as food, learning is exponential! Finding fun while learning, there is nothing better.
Wearing because it’s a very physically demanding job. When I think about it today, I sometimes wonder how I held out. The four months at Ferrandi were a nice little conditioning before the dive in the real fourteen week course. I counted them!
But every time I make my foie gras, whether I prepare a game fumet or turn a carrot, but also when I can understand why a plate failed in a restaurant, I tell myself that the reward is linked to the effort.
Jean-Christian Dumonet : Where did you get that passion for cooking?
Alexandre Fünfrock : Unlike many, I will not justify my love of good food by calling to the rescue Proust’s madeleine that could have been my grandmother or the sister-in-law of my uncle by marriage and their preparations of jam and the hypothetical afternoons spent behind the stoves where I would have garnered the premises of what would have encouraged me to spend my CAP Cuisine Ferrandi at 50 years.
Much more pragmatically, I was raised by my grandfather who had open table at the catering college of Strasbourg, at the antediluvian time where it was directed by the great Monsieur Cochet.
As career soldier, he regularly making debriefing meals with officials and military members of the “Services”. In total disregard of the most basic rules of the Secret Defense, the child that I was participated in many of these meals, more interested in his plate that the surrounding state secrets.
And today even I try having no a priori for the type of cuisine, I recognize a tendency for the traditional. Quite little “trendy”, fans of sauces (especially not light !), despising fumaroles, not dazzled by a delirious presentation.
To put it simply, I’m a little exasperated by pretentious appearances with picrocholine proportions. Hence the name of the blog.
Jean-Christian Dumonet : Why this blog?
Alexandre Fünfrock : Shortly after entering the labor world, I found a freelance job as a food columnist. Great to invite girls! It lasted 15 years in parallel with my other professional activities.
Few years ago, I wanted to open a restaurant. A first attempt ran up against the banks’ refusal. I decided to get around the problem by doing a CAP (NVQ). The experience was not only rewarding in the culinary field but also instructive by the incredible physical investment needed to bring it to fruition. And let’s be lucid, at my age, I do not have any more the capacities nor the will to embark on this adventure.
So I decided to share my experience and skills through this blog.
Jean-Christian Dumonet : It will be one more…
Alexandre Fünfrock : Every creation is comparative: what I like, what I do not like, what I find better or worse in my colleagues; weighted by what I know (or believe to know) from my potential readers.
I’m not the only one, but I think there are few food columnists with a degree in this sector. Especially one that is not confined to academic theory. In addition to the CAP, I also have the Exploitation License and the Hygiene Training.
I know that passion transcends knowledge but a little professionalism doesn’t hurt.
And to make an extra difference, the blog is completely bilingual. Working with tourists for almost 15 years, I know they are sensitive to the advice of a French guy, graduated from a great school and who speaks their language!
Jean-Christian Dumonet : And for what style?
Alexandre Fünfrock : I’m trying to have a little more technical analysis of the working methods.
With the proliferation of cooking shows, customers are more interested in how what they eat is done. They do not all want to try to reproduce it at home. But they want to understand the process that led to the plate that is presented to them, they aspire to be able to argue when something disturbs or displeases them in the dish.
So these are not very poetic texts, I concede. No flights of poetry from which the plate is absent but not any endless list of all dishes on the menu. Banish the hackneyed expressions of the style “explosion of taste in mouth”, “the best … of Paris” or “low price”.
So no spelling mistakes (I try), a neat grammar, beautiful words, culinary references, historical, literary, philosophical (without abusing).
Jean-Christian Dumonet : And then?
Alexandre Fünfrock : In France, develop the list of small quality shops and producers, bakeries, sausages, spirits, etc.
And always translate everything into English.
As I travel a lot, development of the international hotels and spa analysis. This last part will be partly delegated to my friend, Fanny Marouani, who owns a brand of cosmetics (Pomarium) and knows very well this sector.