f her cooking had to be summed up in just three words, it would be respect, taste and simplicity: a particularly feminine simplicity that laughs off the quest for perfection and asserts itself with direct flavours. Her soft, even shy, but determined personality reveals itself in her creations, in the profound desire to make others happy and express her feelings through food. She is never sure of herself, thankfully, and so her cooking reflects her temperament. Everything starts with the product and Anne-Sophie Pic works with fishermen, market gardeners and farmers who provide her with knowledge that she can draw on at will.
Her high standards lead her on a constant quest for the precise cooking time and method, the right balance of seasonings - anything that brings out the best in the product. In her mind are a palette of tastes, some memories, a family history and years of thought, which allow her to restore taste, balance and the very essence of the product. Around this she builds stories, contrasting textures, reflections and associations that underline, construct and elaborate. On her menu are many vegetables, fish that she concocts with fantasy and a few meats. Nothing deconstructed, but a search for the quintessence of taste, precision and simplicity.
She likes to bring out the sweetness in vegetables - hence her penchant for chutneys -has a taste for acidity, and can't resist the charm of evanescence, clouds that temper strength, emulsions that bring roundness and sweetness without ever succumbing to preciousness. Take the "Small boat langoustine from Loctudy, marinated then roasted a la plancha, smooth green peas, spring onions with minted liquorice. The smooth green peas reveal themselves bit by bit, with a few spring onions hidden under the peas, and a touch of liquorice tempered by the creamy mousse. There is always a hidden surprise, a touch of acidity, a nuance of colour, the feminine touch, sensual and delicate.
All the flavours are frank, precise, coming together in new combinations but never blending into each other. Seasoning, tenderness, respect, precision - each of these essential elements comes together to express and create emotions.
The carefully arranged plates are like a blank page on which are sketched a few colours, some volume, a shadow, a feeling. There is always light and simplicity, except in the extravagant desserts conceived with her pastry chef, Philippe Rigollot. He produces incredible, ethereal structures, which are vivid and a little provocative - improbable and irresistible works of architecture. Fruits, herbs, spices and chocolate all have a place in his magnificent creations.