Paul Cottanceau-Pocard – culinary journey from France to the Philippines
Paul Cottanceau-Pocard is a young chef with a lot of creativity. He has a great passion for food and a lot of experience working in restaurants around the world. Paul Cottanceau-Pocard started working early with his father in the kitchen. Today he works at the largest venue in the Philippines.
You are passionate about food: where does this passion come from?
My passion for food started when I was really young around 5-6 years old. My dad used to be a chef for nearly 20 years in a famous Michelin star restaurant in Lyon. I have always been curious about food in general, always trying to discover new cuisine from a young age. But certainly what gets my attention when I was a kid was during Christmas season which in France we consume a lot of shellfish. The Highlight was the Oyster for me that was everything and everything started that day.
Which cooking school did you visit?
I attempt a public culinary school in Dardilly France for my 2 years of apprenticeship. Unfortunately, school wasn’t good for me.
You started your chef career within a Fine Dining Restaurant in Lyon, France. What has been your first experience?
My very first experience was actually when I was 12 years old when my dad propose me to give a hand after school in the restaurant he used to work. The first few years I have been trained fine dining background.
You decided to travel all the world to discover new cuisine, technic and culture of food. Where did this journey start?
At the age of 18, I decided to leave my hometown to get some air and discover a new home of cuisine. My very first destination was Australia, I was amaze with the products, things I have never seen before. I could stop traveling afterward.
Which destinations are still on your list?
Big time Australia and New Zealand are for me the most amazing country to live in from our days. Quality of life, Multicultural cuisine, Traveling and discover the new landscape.
Your time as Executive Sous Chef at the Bahamas. Besides the great nature, what makes it so special to work here as a chef?
I’ll say the privacy and dealing with very high profile customer, it was a very VIP club which wasn’t open to the public. I could cook and experiment whatever I wanted too without having to deal with any food cost, a dream job for a chef!
As Executive Sous Chef you gained as well experience in New Zealand with the TriBeCa Restaurant, ”Award winning Metro Top 50 Restaurant”. What was the culinary setup?
It was a pretty easy casual restaurant without tralala. Most important thing was to get the freshest ingredient available on the island and do our magic.
Today you work in the megacity Malina at the Philippines – at the largest venue in the Philippines! What makes this job so interesting for a chef?
First time for me to work in a Resort Casino hotel with 1000 rooms and over 8000 employees. It was a huge change for me and amazing experiences in term of structure and organization. I remanded to every chef to try at least once in a lifetime to work in such a venue.
With all these international influences; do you work on fusion dishes? And if so, which ones currently?
Correct, my food is multicultural, but I always use my French background to try to work out new dishes from Filipino, Vietnamese, Chinese, Peruvian etc.. I found this way more creative for me to express myself without having any border.
How you would describe your culinary style today?
Multi-ethnic, Quality produces and seasonal.
You have experience from the traditional bistro to Michelin star restaurants. Where did you learn the most?
I learn everywhere I go from the Commis chef to the Executive chef, they are not a place I been learning more than other.
What are your most and less favourite ingredients?
Personally, I not a fan of hundred-year-old egg, Balut (Filipino delicacy), Spider.
Can you share some of your actual recipes with us?
Yes, of course:
OPERA MODERNA (Click here for complete recipe)
LAMB & CORN (Click here for complete recipe)
Do you still follow up the French kitchen/chef’s scene?
Yes constantly, thanks to the social media. It helps so much chef worldwide to be in touch and follow new trend.
What is the best about being a chef?
Cooking everyday is a blessing even some day doesn’t work the way you want but I always try to be positive and learn from it as simple as that.
If you could choose any place in the world you have not been yet, where would you like to work as a chef for some time?
Where I haven’t work, will be probably Peru big time!
Thank you very much, Paul!