Between the return of Thibaut and Lilian to the competition, the second era of the eliminatory and the volatilization of Hélène Darroze, the second episode was very much announced for the candidates. It will be unfortunately Lucie will leave the adventure, having failed to seduce the much feared chef Goujon with his grapefruit oysters during the blind tasting.
On departure, “In the kitchen it was not a clear and definite choice”, admits the candidate. After studying international trade in the United States, the young woman decides to have a chance in the kitchen. After her training at Paul Bocuse School, she was interned in the kitchens of Gérald Passedat, or Alexandre Mazzia. Today, the chef of the Nantes restaurant Sépia sees Top Chef as a career accelerator: “The show opened up a lot of possibilities for me.”
Return to his hectic journey.
Konbini food What did you learn from your various cooking experiences?
Lucie | I learned a lot about haute cuisine. These were environments I didn’t know at all. For example, chef Gérald Passedat in a good way to work on fish, in a particular and direct relationship with fishermen. Alexandre Mazzia had a very different view of the brigade from the leaders I had worked with before. All these experiences really enriched me.
It was something for you to participate in Top Chef ?
After only two years of experience, I opened my restaurant straight away, cut myself off from the brigade universe. By participating in Top Chef, I wanted to decompartmentalize my experience as a cook. I used to work alone and there I wanted to see something else and get out of my daily routine.
In the Heston Blumenthal test, you have to work the potato. Moreover, with Arnaud, you disagree …
Arnaud and I are very complicit and friends in the show so it destabilized me a bit, but it’s just a way of communicating that shouldn’t be considered serious. It has nothing to do with him, it happens sometimes, it wasn’t my day. Lots of little tricks made me leave at that point.
On the citrus proof, you feel ready to unravel it, not to leave your place in the adventure. What was going on at that time?
It’s pretty frustrating because I work a lot in citrus at the restaurant, I really enjoy working with them. Suddenly, I’m disgusted, because it’s not going as well as expected. It was a big risk-taking and the risks were out of control. When Chef Gilles Goujon arrives and tells me there’s more iodine than citrus, it’s already a mess.
What is your best memory about Top Chef ?
I have many fond memories. Choosing would be like eliminating some of them. I only remember the victories, because these are highlights when something quite special happens. There are times when I saw Alexandre Mazzia again …
As soon as you arrive on the show, you evoke this regret of leaving the kitchen of Chef Mazzia… Can it be said that you have taken your revenge?
It’s not a kind of revenge, but it’s a pain I had in me. Thanks to Top Chef, when I saw it again, it freed me from it all. These are luggage that I left behind during the show. Since the show, I feel liberated in my kitchen, I go to the bottom of things, I have confidence in myself culinary.
Is this your relationship with chef Glenn Viel?
It’s amazing. He was very kind to me. I think the current went well. He is a young chef, he is modern in his approach to cooking, he has easy communication. He coached me super well, I brought back a lot of victories thanks to him. He pulled me up.
I had an incredible chance to work alongside him, these are just good memories. We only see this once in our lives. Several times, he told me “You have the right to be who you are and you will see that experience changes your character.” He was very understanding, it made communication and understanding fluid.
What is the idea with Sépia, a restaurant set up in Nantes?
We work locally. It was a long-winded job before the opening, there was a whole lot of work supply to procure the products. We are looking for the most local: all products are less than 100 km from the restaurant. We have cultivation contracts with market gardeners: it is an agreement between the two parties to make sure that they sell their produce and that I am supplied.
Tout le monde is sensitized locally, so in order to reach the level of products, it must be differentiated. Thus, the cultivation contract allows me to have varieties that my market gardener grows just for me. We make crops of species that come with my vegetable garden: aromatics from the Asian continent, for example. Otherwise, right now, we grow a Mexican pipicha, a kind of tarragon a little wild with a special taste. These are small pluses that we try to highlight in our kitchen.
What has changed for you since then? Top Chef ?
I go deeper into things, I feel more liberated and legitimate. Also, to be able to participate in the contest, I had to recruit a lot. Suddenly, today, I have a completely different schedule that allows me to do something else, I have a little more time to work on other projects, to see my daughter or redecorate the restaurant at what time, for example. It opened up a lot of possibilities for me.
And you, personally, are watching the show?
Generally, I’m super happy to see the show, it reminds me of good memories, we see colleagues differently. It’s nice to dive back into the stuff, it’s great.
And social media?
Everyone has an opinion on everything. Personally, I don’t care about that because I don’t look at the negative. Of all the comments, I keep only the positive. I have a lot of messages that encourage me, a lot of people support me. Some contradict me: “It’s cool because I’m sensitive like you, it’s rare to see sensitive people on screen.” What are some positive tricks we have.
We, the candidates, are all doors to the kitchen at the beginning, it is of the order of the passionate. In participating in this show, I think we don’t necessarily think about the rest, we don’t measure that this main aspect, the kitchen, can be forgotten in favor of other more futile things. Top Chef it allows us to have an incredible word and visibility, it’s positive and we don’t expect anything else, we don’t care about the negative stuff.
You would come back to Top Chef and they proposed to you?
Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. Given the evolution and the good I get from it today on a personal and professional level, that would be great. I have matured and grown and if I can still do it, I will do it again.