Chefs’ interviews: Christophe Baffos
Christophe Baffos is head of hospitality and tourism at Bournemouth & Poole College, whose Escoffier restaurant is taking part in Goût de France/Good France on 21 March
What do you think makes French food special?
Growing up in France in a small hotel, bar, restaurant in the Loire Vallée, I have always been exposed to an array of food coming from my grand parents’ garden. What makes French food special is the way its people approach gastronomy: people are not afraid to start a celebration lunch at 12:00 and finish with coffee and petits fours at around 17:30. Enjoying good food and good company is a way of life.
What’s your favourite French dish?
I love a nice braised dish such as Boeuf braisé bourgeoise with a garniture printanière. If I go to a patisserie I will order a coffee éclair or a Paris-Brest. But great dishes are all down to using great quality ingredients which are cooked and seasoned well. This is what we teach our Hospitality and Catering students in our Escoffier restaurant at the Bournemouth and Poole College.
What is the specialty from your region of France?
Touraine is known as the "Jardin de la France" so a lot of fruit and vegetables are available. We also have a great array of meat and game. One of my favourite is Rillon, a pork belly cooked in lard and aromates and served hot or cold with a good Dijon mustard and a nice baguette.
What’s your favourite French cooking technique?
Where to start? A nicely shallow fried fillet of sea bass with a golden crispy skin. In the winter, braising with its melting and hearty dishes. In the summer, grilling to get light and fragrant dishes.
Which French chef do you admire most?
Having worked in London for five years and knowing the influence that he had on today’s culinary world; it has to be Auguste Escoffier, "The Chef of Kings and the King of Chefs". Although things have moved on greatly since his time, we are still using a lot of the principals he established in today’s cooking.