Gagnaire, Keller, Bottura: a few favourite chef interviews

During my time as associate editor of WOMguide I interviewed many chefs, the following 10 stood-out for different reasons. Many of the interviews also feature a recipe.

Martin Benn. He was the first chef I interviewed for WOM. Although Benn’s food received mixed reviews I was a fan and followed his career after he left Hong Kong. It was no surprise when he went on to win awards and recognition for his divine restaurant, Sepia, in Sydney, about which I wrote the following review.

Pierre Gagnaire. One of the most charming chefs ever, after the interview I had lunch at Pierre and the experience transformed my opinion, I can still recall many of the dishes.

Massimo Bottura. One of Italy’s most noted, and avant-garde chefs and an interesting character who is extremely passionate about Italian cuisine. I also got to try many of his dishes that were as intriguing as he was.

Greg Malouf. Middle Eastern cuisine expert and a down-to-earth Aussie, he was a pleasure to interview.

Uwe Opocensky. Hong Kong’s progressive cuisine maestro, a talented, driven chef. I always enjoy his food.

Bobby Chinn. TV host and cookbook author, Chinn had enough energy to light a room and knows how to charm the ladies.

Chan Yan Tak. I interviewed Chef Tak just after he became the first Chinese chef in the world to be awarded three Michelin stars.

Nobu. I had been told by a food writer that Nobu was a boring interview, I didn’t find this, instead I found him generous with his time, and still enthusiastic about food, quite something given his long career and the many, many interviews he has done.

Yves Matthey. One of the creators of the Mandarin Oriental’s chocolate range, Matthey is extremely talented with all things sweet.

Thomas Keller. The legendary Thomas Keller was an intense interviewee, he asked me almost as many questions about myself and food as I did him. I also tried his French Laundry menu that he put on at the Mandarin Grill and it remains one of the best meals of my life.

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