Discover the magic of Chef David Bizet's culinary artistry at L'Oiseau Blanc, where delightful flavours meet breathtaking views for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience.
Meet David Bizet, the creative force behind the culinary wonders at L'Oiseau Blanc in The Peninsula Paris. With a passion for gastronomy rooted in childhood dreams, Chef Bizet brings a down-to-earth approach to the kitchen. In this interview, we explore his journey, signature dishes, and the unique charm that sets L'Oiseau Blanc apart. From the breathtaking views of Paris to his commitment to sustainability, Chef Bizet shares the genuine ingredients behind the success of this two-Michelin-starred establishment. Let's dive into the flavourful world of Chef Bizet and the simple joys that make L'Oiseau Blanc a culinary destination worth savouring.
1. To start, can you tell us a bit about your culinary journey and what inspired you to become a chef? How did you come to be a part of L'Oiseau Blanc at The Peninsula Paris, and what makes this restaurant unique in your eyes?
DB: Gastronomy has always been my childhood dream. I studied at a Hospitality School and then followed with an apprenticeship, which allowed me to begin my professional experience with Michelin-starred establishments and famous Chefs.
20 years ago, when I became a Chef in another Palace located in our beautiful city, I realised the culmination point I had reached. To be able to work for such a prestigious place means a lot. It truly reflects your knowledge about how to cultivate different culinary identities for several restaurants, and your mastery of various haute cuisine know-how. Following my arrival at The Peninsula Paris, my best achievement was to obtain the second Michelin star at L’Oiseau Blanc in March 2022, maintaining it this year in 2023.
What makes this restaurant a unique place in my eyes is its panoramic and unique view over Paris. I like to observe the natural light coming through the windows of the restaurant, its variation through the day but also the seasons, and choose the products that will be best highlighted by this luminosity. It truly brings an additional unique experience to the gastronomy we offer.
2. L'Oiseau Blanc is known for its exquisite French cuisine. Could you describe a couple of your signature dishes and what sets them apart?
DB: What is important for me is to incorporate local and seasonal products in the plate: meaning using local and organic products sourced through fair trade fisheries, etc. I aim to create a meaningful and poetic cuisine, leaving flavourful memories in everyone's mind.
My style is an authentic cuisine by the product, by the seasonality and by the intensity, with a culture of the great French tradition through taste. But a contemporary vivacity in the acids, in the bitters, in the intensity.
3. How do you stay creative and innovative in the kitchen while maintaining the classic French culinary tradition?
DB: I believe my creativity and innovation follow once again the seasonality and my life balance. I am a true nature lover, every weekend I am constantly outside. What gives me the inspiration to create and innovate is mostly to live side by side with the nature: agricultural crops, market gardening, fishing, hunting are my main interests. I have myself a vegetable garden and an orchard.
4. The quality of ingredients is paramount in French cuisine. How do you go about sourcing the finest ingredients for your dishes?
DB: Every day, we thrive to discover new French terroirs, along with its passionate people: local market gardeners and other producers that are often as passionate as us and convinced about the values they follow. Each supplier is selected according to the product quality offered and especially according to his terroir and the passion he can give in his work. We choose the best products to highlight them through the dish, as it is the fundamental basis of our work.
5. Dining at L'Oiseau Blanc is not just about the food but also the ambiance and view. How do you curate the overall dining experience for your guests? Could you share a memorable guest experience that stands out in your career at The Peninsula Paris?
DB: Memorable experiences also pass by a restaurant that sublimates the memory through the location and is also often linked to beautiful moments of life: we have a lot of wedding proposals, birthdays, couple anniversaries, etc. L'Oiseau Blanc restaurant is magnificent and the view we have over Paris, from Sacré-Cœur / Montmartre to the Eiffel tower is incredible, and unique for a 2-Michelin Stars Restaurant. The brightness participates in the gourmet experience. When the dish is served, the outdoor light highlights the plate and adds colours that attract the eye and gives delectable notes without even having tasted it. For instance, it can bring different colours to the sauce, a brilliance of pearly white nuances to a cooked fish, and can intensify the greenness of our freshly harvested vegetables.
6. Every chef faces challenges in the kitchen. What are some of the most challenging moments you've encountered, and how did you overcome them?
DB: Our guests often have very specific expectations. We are challenged every day to meet their expectations in terms of food restrictions, allergies, and special request. The absolute priority to keep in mind, working in the luxury industry, is that we never say no to a guest and our job is to always find a solution. If we do not have the solution internally, we can find an outdoor support to accompany us in creating a unique moment in our restaurant.
7. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the culinary world. How does L'Oiseau Blanc approach sustainability in its cuisine?
DB: Our priority is indeed to use each product at the right season, each fish according to the quantities available in the oceans, we respect the nature, and we sublimate it through our cuisine. Likewise, we thrive to be as sustainable as possible in our purchasing choices and in our purchasing policies. Furthermore, we pay attention to our market gardeners, to what they consume, for example in terms of water quantity used for their seed sourcing.
8. What do you see as the next big trends in the culinary world, and how do you plan to incorporate them into your menu?
DB: To continue the approach of sustainable development, in the product sourcing, the respect of nature, the production of dishes, waste of food, etc. In my opinion, it doesn't make sense to get supplies from abroad since we are able to find products in our own country, using our nearest terroirs to highlight our cuisine.
9. When you're not in the kitchen, what are some of your favourite dishes to prepare and enjoy at home?
DB: When I am at home, I try to awaken and sharpen the tastes of my daughters, through simple recipes but also educational experiences. Together, we collect crops in our garden, visit organic markets, discover new charcuterie at the farm from neighbours, etc. I really enjoy teaching them about seasonality, educating their culture of taste and expanding their wealth of knowledge about the (gastronomic) world that’s surrounding us. For example, how to make a difference between two variety of parsley, or how to recognise fresh fish, etc. I believe in the importance of educating them with various culinary possibilities. We have the chance in France to have a deep gastronomy heritage, and I find it particularly important to share it with my hosts and my dear family.
10. Are there any chefs or culinary influences that have had a significant impact on your cooking style and philosophy? If so, what are they?
DB: Instead of drawing inspiration from the past, I'd rather look towards the future. I enjoy listening to the new generations in whom I believe enormously and who teach me a lot about the latest trends. I also take a lot of interest in the world of food criticism: food critics are usually the first to discover and highlight chefs and know-how from around the world and teaches a lot about how a cuisine is perceived in nowadays world.
Bath might be known for its Roman baths, picturesque Georgian buildings and association with Jane Austen but its culinary scene is increasingly attracting visitors from all over the United Kingdom and further afield.
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