Chef Staff Interview - Gregory Pugin
1. Where were you born?
Tarbes, in Southwest France.
2. Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
I started cooking at home as a young child because I loved being in the kitchen, eating well, and making people happy with my food. I went on to study for my CAP and BEP Hôtellerie et Restauration (French National Vocational Qualifications Diplomas for Hospitality and Restauration).
3. What was your first kitchen job?
I was taken on as an apprentice at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, France.
4. How long have you been in the restaurant business?
Since the age of 16.
5. Are you married/do you have any children?
Married, no children.
6. What are some of your favorite/signature dishes? What makes them special?
My favorites vary, as I change my menu to reflect the change in seasons. Presently, I have two favorites: Bellota Ham: Because it brings together products from my region, with all the flavors that I remember from my childhood, but in a very refined fashion. Lemon Marinated Langoustine: Because it showcases luxury products from the sea and a touch of exotic flavor that reminds me of Panama, with the vodka gelée as the perfect liaison between the sweet, delicate flesh of the langoustine and the fatty richness of the caviar.
7. What do you like most about your job?
Seeing people leave the table with a smile upon their lips.
8. What is the hardest part of your job?
Always reassessing what I do to be as close as possible to perfection.