Nicolas Beaumann, the very art of compromise in the kitchen: tradition and creativity, classicism and modernity
Nicolas Beaumann the art of compromise in the kitchen: tradition and creativity, classicism and modernity.
Nicolas Beaumann is the very art of compromise in the kitchen: tradition and creativity, classicism and modernity. Working alongside Michel Rostang for twenty years, this energetic forty year old has found his place in a family with which he shares not only personal values but also his vision as a chef, to ensure the continuity of an institution that has maintained 2 Michelin stars for four decades.
How did the adventure with the Rostang family begin?
I arrived here in 1999. I worked as an apprentice for 2 years, then as chef de partie with Mr. Rostang for another two years. And then, the chef kicked me out! “Come on, four years is enough!” (Laughs) So I went to the Meurice as Yannick Alléno’s sous-chef for 5 years. Then I looked for a chef’s position, but there aren’t many in the Michelin-starred places. So I came back; I knew the establishment, the family and I liked it there. I signed back on there almost 11 years ago now! What I appreciate is the family aspect and the fact that it is an independent restaurant … it is a wonderful story.
What values do you have in common with the Rostangs?
We share the basics: education, the will to work and personal values. And in our kitchen, what connects us is really focusing on sauces and jus. Mr. Rostang has always wanted to have a cuisine identity which really pleases me.
Is it hard to be part of a family story?
It is! (Laughs). Still, after 15 years of being here, it’s good! You know, some people have been here even longer than me. Mr. Rostang’s right hand man, for example, who was chef when I arrived, has been here for 25 years. He manages all the establishments and external events. He is like the first son of the family and me, the second! To work in a family business, is a matter of trust, and of connivance. You have to agree on the essentials, in terms of cooking and housekeeping.
How would you define your cuisine within Maison Rostang?
I have no restraint in what I propose, as long as I keep a line of conduct around the product, the taste and that I make very full-flavored jus. Besides, if Maison Rostang has had 2 Michelin stars for 40 years, it is because it has known how to advance, evolve and renew itself. Otherwise it would have lost them a long time ago! There have also been different stages: in 1980, when Mr. Rostang had 2 stars, it was not the same cuisine as it is currently. He knew how to take steps and to evolve with his chefs. And when he agreed to take me back as chef, he had an idea in his mind: to bring in new blood. Now, we can say that we offer beautiful contemporary cuisine, classic. Pork illustrates it well: a surf and turf recipe, and a genuine and tasty dish.
Is it important to you to use “Made in France”?
Yes, for me this is one of the criteria that guarantees a high-end product. And why look elsewhere for what we do very well in France …! I attach particular importance to the equipment that I use every day … For pans, large equipment … The fine-mesh chinois is Matfer and nothing else: we use two a year.
During the truffle period, we strain a purée through a chinois. We make kilos of it, and as we have to work quickly, it inevitably strains the mesh, and after a while, it yields …! A fine mesh chinois of another brand would need to be changed every month. For this particular product, I have not found an equivalent in robustness. It’s the same thing for whisks. After a while the stem comes away, except for Matfer whisks.
How do you choose your suppliers?
There are two essential criteria: reliability and product cost. I won’t necessarily take the cheapest, but my choice will be the best value for money: I prefer to pay 50 euros more if it has to last longer. Then, it is necessary that relations with the supplier are very simple. I do not want to have to talk to more than two people. That’s what I appreciate with Matfer, who really represent longevity and ease of contact.
When did you first come across the brand?
With their whisks, when I was apprenticing here at Maison Rostang. This black handle with the yellow ring is really the first product that has identified the brand for me, as a cook!
A third Michelin star – a dream?
Honestly, we do not talk about it with the Rostang family. Even if deep down, we want it! After, a third star, it will be decided. It’s an investment, another step up from the second. A real challenge…