Hélène Reglain, September 14, 2020 in Paris.

“The interest in cooking came to me late, with the farm and its vegetables. I grew up in a tiny village in Alsace, where my mother used to cook ”to feed us”But we weren’t talking about gastronomy at home. Of course, my grandparents had a garden, fruit trees, and our nanny lived in the country, with ducks, chickens and rabbits. It was all part of my childhood, but food wasn’t much of a topic. And agriculture was not very present in my family, with the exception of a peasant great-grandmother. I especially have a lot of memories of sweet things, cakes and Christmas cookies like bredeles, black forests, brioches and kouglofs that we made together …

“When I woke up from a coma, I felt the urgent need to change course, to reconnect with the earth, with nature. “

I went to Loire-Atlantique in 2007, where I met Frédéric and Stéphanie through photography, an activity that I practiced as an amateur. Little by little they have become my dear parents. In my first life, I was a cashier in a supermarket… But I had health problems and six years ago, I spent two weeks in a coma. When I woke up, I felt the urgent need to change course, to reconnect with the earth, with nature. Frédéric and Stéphanie then offered to set up a small market garden farm on their land.

I did not do any agricultural training, I was initiated on the job with Frédéric who, himself, had learned empirically how to provide for his family and had already built a small greenhouse. I had little pretension, I just wanted to make baskets of vegetables to feed the locals, and to introduce them to garden and seasonal products.

I have researched the internet, delved into books, especially The Revolution of a Single Strand of Straw (2005, Guy Trédaniel Editeur), Masanobu Fukuoka’s wild farming manifesto. I started by growing classic vegetables, salads, radishes, carrots …

Read also Vegetable ramen: Hélène Reglain’s recipe

Gradually, I realized that we did not know the existence of so many varieties! Our taste palette is terribly restricted. I became passionate about old seeds, and especially Japanese varieties, which have incredibly subtle and delicious ranges of tastes and textures. I don’t just do that, but I love what you find in Japan, the small eggplants, the crunchy cucumbers, the multicolored winter radishes, the tender and fragrant squash …

Gradually, the chefs started ordering vegetables for me. With Frédéric, we were already trying to use our products without wasting anything, but it is by working with the chefs that we really started to cook, to make combinations of flavors, different types of cooking, all kinds of experiments. This is how this vegetable ramen recipe was born, which combines my passion for Japan and its vegetables, and which explores each product, from the leaves to the roots. It is a complete dish, comforting and healthy, which tells the story of the garden, the season, and which is good. “

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