Connect with us

Food Scene

Phuket Dining: Eat like a president

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: There are times when you simply can’t turn down an invitation. When the personal chef of the President of the French Republic invites you for a dinner, it is one of those times. Even more so when it’s Bernard Vaussion, a chef who served under six consecutive French presidents, who recently came to Phuket to cook a presidential dinner set at the Trisara resort.

Vaussion spent 40 years in the kitchen of the Elysee Palace, the last eight as the head chef. During that time, he prepared countless dinners for the most powerful men and women on the planet, among them President of the United States Barack Obama or His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. But when I ask him what he’s going to miss the most about his job in the palace, he doesn’t even mention the glamor and replies without a second’s delay.

“The people, my team who are like my family. I’ll miss the team spirit of the kitchen of the Palace Elysee.” And quite a kitchen it is at 500 square meters, filled with kitchen equipment dating back to the times of French Kings. A kitchen where all meals for the president are prepared.

“There’s one kitchen in the Elysee but there are two types of menu. One official and one more personal and family style,” explains the chef.

“Sometimes the president asks the cooks to prepare something Japanese, or Italian. But the president does have some more down to earth food too. Maybe not burgers and French fries but an every day meal, for sure.”

When I ask him if he has ever seen any of the first ladies preparing scrambled eggs for their husband, he replies “No, never. None of the first ladies I’ve met ever did that.”

It seems that food in the Palace Elysee is a very masculine affair, and in the end, it’s always the president who decides what’s served. “At the beginning of each week I prepared menus for all the official dinners, private dinners, flights and so on,” says Vaussion. “I give a choice of a few starters, main courses, deserts and in the end it was the president who made the choice and signed each menu every week.”

Certainly the president of France must be a resolute man, but even for him, to choose from what Chef Vaussion has on offer must be a difficult task. Especially that he has to keep in mind not only his, but his honorable guests’ preferences. And this is one of the reasons why the Club des Chefs des Chefs was formed – the world’s most exclusive gastronomic society, associating the personal chefs of various heads of state.

“We meet once a year, talk, create relationships which allows us to call each other when there is a state visit, and prepare a menu according to specific preferences,” explains Vaussion. An undertaking that is not only difficult but also of great importance – after all it’s at the dining tables where some of the most important decisions concerning the future of our planet are made.

“Very often, I saw difficult relations between heads of states made more friendly thanks to the quality of food, great wine, beautifully decorated table and perfect service,” says Vaussion, before assuring me that the Club des Chefs des Chefs’ slogan “Politics divide people, food brings them together” is well reflected in the diplomatic reality.

And it’s the reality of ever changing French cuisine that is reflected in the menus and dining habits of the French presidents. It was president Giscard d’Estaing who moved away from the traditional, heavy diet of French Kings and towards the more modern, lighter style. Much later came Nicolas Sarkozy who left his mark on the menu by removing the cheeses in order to make dining as quick as possible. Current President Francois Hollande brought the cheese back but budget cuts made the Elysee’s sommelier think twice before serving the best wines for average occasions. And on the topic of wine – Chef Vaussion isn’t very much impressed with the palaces cellars: “The collection isn’t actually that impressive, it’s just 15,000 bottles of wine.”

I wrap up our conversation asking about the menu for the evening and if we, casual people, can count on the same quality as the heads of states.

“The quality of the food tonight will be the same as in the palace because Trisara’s team is very skilled. And the dishes are the same as I used to serve to different presidents,” replies the chef and proves his words an hour later serving the guests at the “Eat like a president” dinner – some of the best dishes the kitchen of the Elysee Palace has to offer. Having tasted the Fondant de Tourteau a L’advocat, Foie Gras Micuit aux Cerises or Filet de Boeuf Truffe made me realize that some politicians might be power hungry, but they certainly are never left hungry.”

— Maciek Klimowicz

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand39 mins ago

Man allegedly steals almost 300,000 baht from monk

Thailand1 hour ago

Illegal cigarette shipment busted, valued at 30 million baht

Thailand3 hours ago

Pair arrested for allegedly stealing prepaid phone cards worth 240 million baht, take home almost 150

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 Indian Restaurants in Bangkok

Phuket4 hours ago

A Korean restaurant catches fire at a Phuket shopping centre

Best of5 hours ago

Top 10 Provinces to visit in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for emergency use in Thailand

World5 hours ago

1 dead 99 unaccounted for in Florida building collapse

World5 hours ago

Airlines participate in trials of IATA Travel Pass app

Best of5 hours ago

Top 8 Street Foods in Thailand

World5 hours ago

A bed in the sky: Shanghai opens world’s highest luxury hotel

Thailand5 hours ago

GMT Live | Bangkok Covid situation, Klongtoey slums, Sandbox squabbles

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid-19 cluster found at children’s home outside Bangkok

Best of6 hours ago

Top 5 Floating Markets in Bangkok

Phuket6 hours ago

Phuket officials in last-minute scramble to fix sandbox hiccups

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending