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Head Chef Interview – Yves Ogrodzki, L’Artisan

Cheltenham > Food & Drink > General

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 18th January 2019, 16:10

Elisabeth and Yves Ogrodzki Elisabeth and Yves Ogrodzki

Yves and Elisabeth Ogrodzki worked in and ran restaurants in places like Paris and Nimes in their native France, before moving to England and opening La Table d’Yves in Leicestershire in 2005.

They now run L’Artisan in Cheltenham, one of the most popular French restaurants in the Cotswolds. We caught up with Yves to discuss his passion for his work.

What made you want to be a chef?

“My mum was a very good cook, we were a big family of seven and she had five kids to deal with. We lived in the countryside in the Alps and had a big garden, grew our own vegetables and kept chickens. She used to cook a lot and also make cakes and things like that, and I always cooked with her.”

When did you realise you had a talent for cooking?

“When I was about 15, I told my mother I wanted to be a chef and she said: “you know on the weekends when all your friends are partying, you’ll be in work”! I attended catering school and slowly the passion grew and grew. I learnt the basics and I still believe that knowledge of the basic skills is key.”

What was your first job in a kitchen?

“I left the national service and wanted to get back into cooking, but it’s like learning a new language, you always need to practice. I worked front of house and was managing a restaurant in Paris, and I told my friend who was head chef that I wanted to get back into the kitchen.

“But instead of giving me a job as a commis chef, he put me into the middle of the kitchen hierarchy when I was around 21 or 22 years old. It was very difficult, very challenging, but worth it for the experience.”

What’s the best part of the job?

“I love arriving in the morning and thinking: “what can I do differently to wow people today?” I enjoy being in the kitchen able to think about creating a new dish or enhancing flavours, a new challenge every day.”

What’s your favourite dish to cook or eat?

“I don’t really have any favourite ingredients or dishes, I like everything!”

Any culinary Pet Peeves?

“I always prefer to do my own filleting because sometimes I order some fish or meat and it has been ruined by someone not taking care when cutting it. I teach my chefs to show respect to anything they cook. I also hate wastage and not using everything we can.”

Are there any chefs or recipe books you take inspiration from?

“I’m very open minded and look at a lot of different cook books. I like Gary Rhodes, Rick Stein, almost anyone really. I don’t tend to read recipes, but rather just look at the pictures and think: “how could I make that dish but with my twist on it?”

“I like to take traditional recipes and give them my own touch, so they are classic yet modern. I’ve had a lot of influences – my mother cooked a lot of Mediterranean food, I studied all over France in Grenoble, Toulouse, Paris so I’ve picked up all different types of cooking.”

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