Quisine by Guy Savoy in Doha
We catch up with celebrity chef to see what he’s putting on our plates Discuss this article
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How did you get started cooking?
It all started with my upbringing which awakened a great passion for good food. My mother was an excellent cook and my father an avid gardener, and the transformation of the untouched, natural produce into a tasty meal was, to my child eyes, pure magic. Over time I found that my mind was always on food; while at school I was waiting for break time so that I could eat my home grown apple and, as soon as I got home, I would always run straight into the kitchen to taste what my mother had prepared that day.
You use some of her recipes in your restaurants, don’t you?
Her rice pudding was exquisite and until today you can find rice pudding on my menu. Every time I taste it, it evokes thoughts of my childhood. Food to me is a memory. It was the magic of cooking that first enticed me, and still does.
French cuisine has formed the backbone of fine dining: why is that?
I would say that French cuisine is famous for quality combined with style. And it tastes good! There is a lot of skill behind it. It’s deeply rooted in culinary procedures that have been handed down through the centuries, yet at the same time it is constantly looking forward and moving in new directions. The classical French idea of using locally available ingredients and the dedication to excellence has never changed. Personally it’s this that excites me, being part of the evolution of food and the whole experience of enjoying a fine meal.
How do you make this style of food your own?
My cuisine is a reflection of myself; I am constantly inspired by the world around me and I take the skills I have mastered over my years as a Chef and translate this into my cooking. My style is typified by the utmost respect for the produce I’m using, playing upon flavours according to the season, so as either to work towards perfect harmony, or to make differences play against one another. It’s magic and it’s capturing this moment in every dish that has kept me going all these years.
You have one of the top 50 restaurants in the world! Will Quisine measure up?
Yes, of course! This restaurant will provide a similar experience as my one in Paris, and in Doha, we have invested a great deal of time, money and care into ensuring this. I’ve brought my very best, hand-picked Chefs from Paris to complete the experience. The main difference is that in Doha we have some unique dishes created for the local market, using Arabic flavors and ingredients. Over time it will involve to have its own, unique atmosphere influenced by the guests that form the soul of any restaurant, but this will always be brought together by the same attention to detail that is the ‘Guy Savoy’ experience. I’m very keen to work with local farms and source much of my ingredients in Qatar and the region and this brings a new and exciting element to this restaurant. I’d like you to experience the end result of this influence.
If I didn’t like this city, I wouldn’t open a restaurant here – I love Doha. It’s like a small world with so many things to see. So many different influences all collide in this small country which has such a huge heart. It is a new challenge for me and I only take up challenges in special cities. It’s a happening place. I must be here and be part of it.
What’s your favourite thing on the new menu?
That’s a hard question! As I said, every dish is a reflection of me, so much time and thought has gone into every one. I can’t possibly pick – it’s like asking a parent to choose their favourite child!
What do you cook when you’re at home? It’s toast over the sink, isn’t it?
Simple, tasty food that employs the same principles I stand by in my restaurants – the best ingredients prepared with love.
For diners, what should they know to get the most enjoyment out of your new restaurant?
They should know that we care. The entire team truly wants them to have the best time possible while dining at our restaurant and enjoy a multi-hour journey of food, service, and décor. Eating in a restaurant should be a complete experience – everything should be done for your pleasure.
Quisine by Guy Savoy is now open on the Pearl Qatar, Parcel 4, La Croisette 7, Porto Arabia. Sun-Fri from 7pm. Unlicensed. Call 4002 7245. www.guysavoy.qa.
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