Chef Eric Trochon

Talks about butter

Whether he’s behind the stove in one of his Parisian restaurants (Semilla and Freddy’s) or with his students at the prestigious École Supérieure Ferrandi, whether he’s working on culinary styling for one of his many book collaborations or passing on his skills to others around the world, creativity and learning are the heart and soul of Éric Trochon’s cuisine. As a “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” in 2011, his talents have been exported all over the world. Like him, his art is in motion, his intellectual curiosity is insatiable and he cooks in inventive, correct and generous ways.

What is your first buttery memory?

My first sole meunière at the Ferrandi school of cooking. I was 15 years old. It was very successful … beginner’s luck! We tasted it; I remember the contrast between the pearly flesh, firm and fragrant, and the cooking butter, just nutty, slightly lemony … wow!

What place does butter hold in your kitchen?

An essential place. I’m crazy about butter! For me, butter is an indispensable marker of French gourmet cuisine, but using it wisely and in the right way requires a lot of expertise. I often assess the talent of cooks around by the way they cook with butter: do not burn it, do not add too much, their movements as they baste a roast with a spoon and, most importantly, the results obtained, which must never leave an impression of fattiness or heaviness.

How do you use butter?

Raw, cooked, salted, sweet … blended in, for cooking (meunière), to finish sauces, biscuits, creams … the list is a long one. Without butter, I would be a little lost. I travel around the world a lot, and sometimes I can’t find butter locally (or only poor-quality butter); I then feel something is missing … I must then correct and readjust my recipes, and the result is never as flavorful!

What qualities do you see in it?

Butter is a pure delicacy … It is an incredible holder of aromas. The buttery note prolongs the taste of food in the mouth. Butter ennobles the simplest products and provides the little “French twist” which is essential to all other preparations.