Laguiole. The Aveyron chef Sébastien Bras: “Aubrac has forged a taste unconscious in me”

the essential
What hasn’t already been written about the special link between the Bras family and the territory where it was born, Aubrac? From the first years in the heart of the village to the flourishing success of Le Suquet, haloed with three stars and acclaimed by all the critics, Michel and his son Sébastien have never ceased to be the ambassadors of a plateau that they cherish so much. on their plates and in their daily lives. Sébastien opens up about this love story.

VShe Bras family has been cultivating their love for Aubrac for years and you were no exception to the rule…

I am one of the last children born in Laguiole in 1971 before the maternity ward closed. For me, that means a lot. Then, like my father and others, this territory saw me grow and develop professionally. These childhood memories have built our universe. When you were brought up in the middle of cows, with slices of milk skin and the like, it forges a very strong gustatory unconscious in you. And that comes out all the time in my cooking, which is none other than the sharing of these emotions and a territory.

The new French gastronomic scene makes a point of honor to this attachment to the territory of the chefs and to the cuisine of local products, in short circuit. So the Arms have been in the right for years?

I usually tell the young people on our team that they have to learn from their time with us, but as soon as they open their own restaurant, they have to talk about their memories, their territory. When you are 20 or 25, you are not aware of this. We sometimes want to do what’s in vogue, when everyone has their own story… When my father took advantage of the plant richness of Aubrac by cooking plants or flowers, everyone thought he was crazy. the time. And yet, it didn’t pschitt like molecular cuisine did! This return to territorial anchoring, everyone has come back to it. And I find that great.

You mentioned molecular cuisine. As a young chef, have you ever had the temptation to embark on a cuisine diametrically opposed to that which we know from your father?

I asked myself a lot of questions at the time of molecular cuisine, in the early 2000s. This current was so strong, chefs from all over the world rushed into it headlong. So, of course, I was curious to find out. I even went to do an internship with Ferran Adrià in Barcelona – the father of molecular cuisine, Ed. I found it fascinating, but it fit their story. Not mine. And even if at that time, our cuisine was almost considered too classic, I am happy to see that fifteen years later, everyone has returned to a more natural aspect of things.

Sébastien Bras: “Aubrac has forged a taste unconscious in me”

When we talk about Aubrac in terms of gastronomy, we think above all of its meat and aligot. You have been able to find many other treasures in this territory…

We don’t know but Aubrac has one of the most beautiful flora in Europe. And this plant universe that it offers us is magnificent and we try to enhance it through our wild pickings. Then, my father managed to create a universe on his own by creating his garden. He grows plants from all over the world, when it works (laughs). It’s extraordinary when you’re a cook and you can compose your menu with wild picking, from your father’s garden and shopping at the Rodez market.

And for the anecdote, I had bet to remove the aligot from the menu a few years ago and everyone quickly demanded its return… I had even imagined one based on pumpkin but that would have been definitely a little too flashy (laughs).

Thanks to its table, Maison Bras has also attracted many foreigners to Aubrac. Isn’t it also a great pride?

This is what we are most proud of. We have succeeded in maintaining the link between local, national and international gourmets. I remember having seen during the same service a Japanese woman who had spent her morning getting ready in her traditional costume and next to it, a farm worker whom I know well. This great gap in our clientele is my greatest source of pride. Because in the three Parisian stars, you have 70% foreigners now…

In addition to Aubrac, the Bras family is often associated with Japan as well. Is it also a love affair with the land of the rising sun?

My father opened his first restaurant in 2002 there. We discovered there a culture 100,000 leagues from ours. There are many customs, uses, we took time to understand and we adapted to this universe. The island of Hokkaido on which we had the restaurant – it closed recently and another is due to open soon in Karuizawa, editor’s note – is Aubrac to the power of ten! It’s the end of the world, not far from Siberia and that’s what motivated investors to trust us. They told us that if we had succeeded in Aubrac, we could succeed there (laughs).

Have you ever had the idea of ​​continuing your adventure elsewhere than in the family home?

Not really. I have always liked being at home. I could have been tempted to leave after my studies in the early 1990s, but the history of the house was too strong: we had just opened Le Suquet, it was very hard in the first years. My parents needed support and I wanted to be one. At the time, the shop had to be saved and I couldn’t have left. I asked myself this question again in 1998. We went with my wife to Argentina. We had opened a restaurant in Buenos Aires. The latter had been incredibly successful and at the time everything was so easy there compared to France, we had asked ourselves the question of staying there… But in the end, the desire to return to the country had quickly caught up.

Leave a Comment