Having moved to London earlier this year to take over the kitchen at Rosewood London, chef Amandine Chaignot has dedicated a great part of 2015 experimenting and putting together a special set of menu that fuses both her expertise in French dining with the city’s finest seasonal produce. Titled Woodland, the menu reflects Chaignot’s take on the local autumn and winter harvest, featuring savoy cabbage, meadowsweet, figs, chestnuts, as well as grouse, venison, and partridge, all intricately cooked to offer guests a unique culinary journey at the Mirror Room. Here we talk more with the chef about her start in the industry and her inspirations.
What’s your favorite thing about being a chef and what are some of the downsides?
My favorite thing about being a Chef is that every day is different and you never have a set routine. You meet so many people from different cultures, backgrounds, experiences, etc. on a daily basis. I like to work as a team with everyone in the kitchen. We collaborate to create new recipes. I like to see my team and the people around me evolving, learning and experiencing new things every day. A restaurant is a place where people forget about what else is happening in their lives and they can enjoy an experience and each other’s company together.
A kitchen can be very exhausting. At times it can be stressful and demanding as you are on your feet throughout the whole day, but at the end of the day, there is such a satisfaction and pride of what you have achieved at the end of the day.
What is one common misconceptions about chefs?
A restaurant and kitchen atmosphere is not just about creating a new recipe, how it looks on a plate and meeting fancy popular people. It is hard work. You need to have passion and commitment to food, the restaurant and your team.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
I originally studied chemistry and wanted to be a pharmacist. I discovered the hospitality business through a waitressing job I had in a pizzeria. I realised that I liked working with people, creating food and interacting with people every day, and had the idea that I wanted to open a small tea house. After studying at FERRANDI (French School of Culinary Arts) in Paris, I met some of the most talented chefs, and realized that I wanted to stick to fine dining.
Who’s your inspiration when it comes to cooking?
My inspirations come from a lot of different things. For example, it can come from a color, music, ingredients, people, etc. I admire people who are inspired by their terroir and who stay humble and passionate about their culture like Regis Marcon, Alain Passard, Pascal Barbot, etc.