Ambitious, independent and creative (she’s written a book too), making a mark in a family of distinguished chefs is no mean feat. We invited Emily to spill the beans about her new classes and how her cooking has evolved.
What kind of dishes will you be cooking with your students?
Dishes that I would love to eat. Not too many ingredients on the plate, but lots of bold flavours.
What are you looking forward to most about your classes at Cactus Kitchens?
Meeting food fanatics like me and sharing family foodie stories.
What can your students expect from a day in the kitchen with you?
A relaxed day full of tips, tricks and laughter. I shall try to answer all the questions you may have, food or family related.
What do you want your students to take away from the class?
New recipes to take home and impress the family with. Cooking and chopping techniques to make life easier in the kitchen.
What’s your typical go-to dish for an after work/midweek supper?
Pasta! I am a massive fan, fresh or dried, as long as it’s cooked al-dente and served with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, lots of black pepper and freshly grated parmesan.
Was it inevitable that you would be a chef? Did you ever consider another career?
From the age of 12, I wanted to become a chef…and since then I have never looked back.
What’s your advice for aspiring chefs?
Keep your eyes and ears open to learn as much as you can at every opportunity. Patience and hard work are key.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your cooking?
Every chef I have worked for has influenced my cooking. They have all taught me different techniques and skills that I interpret in my own way and use every day. Alain Ducasse, Frederique Vardon, Akrame Benallal to name a few.
How does your style of cooking differ from your father’s?
We are both classically French trained, so we have the same foundations. However, I have worked alongside some very modern chefs, which has influenced my food. So I would say my food is a little more contemporary in style.
Who’s had the most influence on your cooking? Your mother or your father?
Both, in different ways. My mother used to feed me every single day when I came home from school. Fresh, simple, yet exciting recipes that I loved and has most definitely influenced the style of the book. Whereas my father cooked very little at home… and when he did he would always give me a few tips and tricks that only a professional would know.
How did New French Table come about?
The cookbook came about in the most natural way. We were having lunch all three of us and Mum had prepared a caramelised vegetable tart. My father said: “Could I have that recipe, this is delicious”. To which my mother replied, “Not another recipe you are pinching off me to put in your cookbook”. The discussion then got serious about “the girls” writing our own cookbook.
How did you and your mother choose the recipes? And was it easy to agree on what went in and what you left out?
We chose recipes that are close to our heart and family that we love to eat. Several recipes are from my grandmother, who is 92 and still bakes from time to time. It was very easy to agree on the recipes as my mother and I love the same foods.
Did you father have any input in the book?
None whatsoever! Although he was very lucky to taste nearly all the recipes when we were testing them.