CHEF sonia ezgulian talks about butter

Sonia Ezgulian inherited the pleasure of cooking and entertaining from her Armenian grandmother. Self-taught, she is both a food journalist and a well-known chef. Between 1999 and 2006, she developed the Oxalis restaurant in Lyon, where she applied herself to reveal the richness of her vocabulary in the range of flavors she created. Subtlety, delicacy, finesse, nuance, charm and softness all nourish Sonia’s inspiration and creativity. A multifaceted personality, her cooking is spontaneous and free from rigid technical constraints. She is always inventive and in search of perfection. Sonia Ezgulian has written many cookbooks with her husband, the photographer Emmanuel Auger.

What is your first buttery memory?

It’s both a taste and a cooking technique. An Armenian dessert, the Bourma, crispy rolls filled with nuts, pistachios and cinnamon. To make it, you have to learn how to add the right amount of melted butter and how to handle the generously brushed filo leaves.

What place does butter hold in your kitchen?A place by itself, a place of choice, a special place. Butter is synonymous with gourmet cooking and is used with both simple and sophisticated techniques.
I like making simple dishes in my kitchen. I might drizzle a fish fillet with a frothy herb butter or wrap meat in buttery rolls of puff pastry.

What qualities do you see in it?

Of course. I use flavored butters all year round, using different flavors that complement the dishes. Butter is essential for tasty and crunchy pastry for pies and other “Oreillers de la Belle-Aurore.” And for root vegetables, which I like to glaze with a little honey as well.

What qualities do you see in it?

Its taste above all, because whether raw or browned, it brings a unique touch. I like to use it as a “binder”: browned butter added to a meat sauce a few moments before coating a dish, as a base to make fish rillettes, to make original pasta (speculoos mixed and bound with a little bit of melted butter), etc.