Aurélien Véquaud, chef from La Passagère*
Since 2017, Executive Chef – Aurélie Véquaud – of La Passagère 1* from the Belles Rives Hotel has sailed across an iodine and Mediterranean cuisine. Originally from Vendée, he debuted with the great Alexandre Couillon in his restaurant La Marine**. To achieve culinary perfection, he decided to perfect his talents with other great French chefs: the Meilleur Ouvrier de France Yannick Franques, Olivier Brulard, Meilleur Ouvrier de France 1996, for five years or Arnaud Donckele with whom he collaborated as 1st assistant chef for five years. It at his side that chef Véquaud has learned how to enhance unique taste and terroir from the South of France. His Grand de Demain Trophy awarded by Gault&Millau 2019 propels him towards new horizons. At La Passagère, he shares his passion for the craft in dishes where he highlights his intransigence for local products from short circuits.
A local chef
The idyllic setting of the gastronomic restaurant of the Belles Rives Hotel in Juan Les Pins is where you can eye witness the magnificient Mediterranean sea. There, the chef is seeking out the taste of the local.
The place is mythical. The owner – Marianne Estène-Chauvin – who runs it like a family home, maintains the soul of her hotel with fervour and passion. The cuisine served here is both Provençal and playful. Its chef promotes products from short circuits. Products come from limited liaisons between producer and consumer. He and his squad benefit from total transparency on products’ origin and quality. In addition, they contribute to the respect of the environment and the development of local agriculture, while offering healthier food.
As a regular of the sea, chef Aurélien Véquaud is inspired by the marine heritage given by the Mediterranean that surrounds him on the Cap d’Antibes peninsula. Today is not the day for seafood, but for a seasonal ingredient: asparagus from Provence. Perfect for spring!
Aurélien Véquaud’s recipe
Asparagus is an interesting vegetable because of its low impact on the environment. They also are considered good for your health as they are light and digest. They can fit into anyone’s healthy diet. Their strong value in mineral – potassium and magnesium – and vitamins B and C help easier assimilation. For a kilogram of asparagus, 2,150 litres of water are needed. The chapter “saving water” from Less Saves The Planet specifies products needing more than 10,000 litres should be moderated from diet. Its water footprint is therefore considerably low. The chef reveals for us his Spring recipe: Asparagus from Provence, puffed cereals and goat’s cream with bergamot oil.
- 4 green asparagus (26cm or more) or 12 (16/20cm)
- Goat Tomme
- Bergamot oil
- Chicken stock
- Wash and peel the asparagus. To limit waste, keep peelings.
- Make a broth with them.
- Melt a little butter and sweat the trimmings and peelings.
- Add a little salt and cover for 2 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Moisten with a little chicken stock, cook for 10 minutes and strain.
- Set aside.
- 40g black rice
- 20g amaranth
- 20g quinoa
- 10g flaxseed
- 15g roasted pumpkin seeds
- Olive oil
- Cook the grains separately in boiling water:
- Quinoa 20 min – Black rice 45 min – Amaranth 50 min – Flax 60 min
- Rinse with clear water then dry at 70°c for about 6 hours, separate the seeds then fry at 220°C.
- Keep dry on absorbent paper and 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Goat’s milk yoghurt:
- 1L goat’s milk (preferably raw)
- 250g of yoghurt
- 5g of salt
- Heat the milk and salt to 38°c then remove from the heat and add the yoghurt.
- Cover with cling film and steam at 40°C for 12 hours or use a yogurt maker.
- Remove to a tea towel previously placed in a sieve so that the yoghurt can drain for at least one night.
- Cook the asparagus at the last minute in a frying pan with a little butter.
- Moisten with the asparagus stock to the middle of the pan and cook for 3 minutes or more, depending on the size of the asparagus. The asparagus should remain soft.
- Grate a mature goat’s cheese while keeping the tip of the asparagus.
- Place the asparagus on a plate and place a few shavings of raw asparagus (cut with a Japanese mandolin).
- Place a nice quenelle of goat’s yoghurt on the side and sprinkle with puffed cereals.
- Add a few drops of bergamot oil on top and voila!
Follow the example and cook like Chef Aurélien Véquaud!