Chef Andy Trousdale of Le Bistro Restaurant, South Florida, will be the guest chef at OCEAN Style's RESERVED slated for the Tryall Club on Tuesday, March 27. Trousdale has successfully served his brand of modern French cuisine for over a decade and has worked in Three Star Michelin and Relais establishments in France, England and Holland. Le Bistro is recognised by Zagat - Top Restaurant in America and has been rated 4-Stars by the Miami Herald. Chef Trousdale and Le Bistro were featured twice on Gordon Ramsay's hit reality TV show.
Thursday Food honours a reservation...
Thursday Food (TF): Your restaurant, Le Bistro, features authentic cuisine from the Provence region of France. Which other countries' cuisines inspire you?
Chef Andy Trousdale (AT): Difficult question to answer as I am inspired by authentic, flavourful ingredients from all countries. Latin, Asian and Mediterranean countries in particular can be very inspiring as they have much to offer when it comes to interesting, flavourful, spicy ingredients. Integrating such flavours into cooking to subtly intensify is more my style.
TF: The vast majority of your dinner menu items at Le Bistro are gluten-free. How challenging has it been to develop a menu with these kinds of restrictions?
AT: Interestingly enough, it came about by surprise. When my wife began to show some signs of gluten intolerance, we took a good look at my menu and realised that it was, in fact, already 95 per cent gluten-free! I use natural reductions as my sauces, without the addition of flour. In general I do not believe in filling up on starches, so except for potatoes, one rice and one pasta dish, you can leave bread out of the equation, and there you have a gluten-free menu. My use of any processed ingredients; is practically zero. If it ever comes up, I get the magnifying glass out and check the labels for any hidden gluten ingredients, an example of this is soy sauce. I use tamari when needed instead.
TF: If you had to recommend one restaurant, besides your own, to a real foodie, where would you send them?
AT: Hmm, I don't think I've been there yet. I'll let you know when I return from London in May.
TF: In a previous interview, you said you "promote healthy cooking, but more so the understanding of eating". Can you elaborate on this?
AT: It's really very simple. Eat small portions covering all of the food groups by eating six meals instead of three. You keep your body fuelled, your mind alert and you won't get fat. Minimise or eliminate processed food. Try not to snack - grab an apple or other fruit if you feel the urge.
TF: Were you always health-conscious when it came to cooking?
AT: Pretty much. I personally do not like to eat heavy, rich foods. I appreciate the flavours of a food in its natural state. If it's great and fresh, it does not need much. It's always hot working in the kitchen. Light, tasty, flavourful foods keep me going. Rich foods weigh me down. Sure, on occasion, I'll have my rack of lamb, potato gratin and cauliflower cheese, that's what Christmas is for!
TF: Many people like the idea of cooking, but find it intimidating. Name five items that the amateur cook should have in his/her pantry that will get them on the fast track to being a culinary superstar.
AT: Mixed peppercorns, an assortment of fresh chillies, coarse salt, fresh herbs from your own garden or planter box, fragrant citrus e.g. kaffir lime or lemon grass.
TF: Do you prefer red or white wines?
AT: I'll take both. For lunch, my wife and I will have a nice crisp white. Dinner is a robust red. We love Malbecs and great cabs.1
TF: Running a restaurant is really an overtime business. How do you unwind from a busy day?
AT: Most of the time I'll put my feet up, watch TV, or put notes on my computer for ideas about recipes and have a beer till I'm ready to hit the sack.
TF: When is the last time you went away for vacation and where did you go?
AT: Last summer my wife, son and I returned to St Thomas, USVI. That is where we met, married and the place our son was born.
TF: Would your wife say that you're romantic?
AT: Every morning I bring her tea before she gets out of bed, and that's just the beginning.
TF: Do you have any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names?
AT: We adopted a fantastic little Cockerpoo from the Animal Shelter four years ago. His name is Jake Le Poo and we adore him.
TF. What do you think will be your next big splurge?
AT: Trans-Atlantic cruise, Miami to England, in April with family and friends to visit family and friends. A veritable food frenzy binge.
TF Foie gras has been getting a lot of criticism from animal rights activists who oppose ducks being force-fed to enlarge their livers. Where do you stand on the issue of foie gras?
AT: It's been in practice since 2500 BC. My family and I visited a foie gras farm several years ago. We did not witness any inhumane feeding practices. Give the animal activists an inch and they'll take a mile. I am capable of making my own informed decisions about what to serve and what not to serve. I do not want anyone trying to control whatever I decide to do.
TF: You've worked with Chef Gordon Ramsay. Is he really how they depict him in Kitchen Nightmares?"
AT: Gordon is a great chef. You've got to be a hard-ass to get anywhere in this business. He certainly has it in him to be able to portray that persona. I know where he's coming from and how he got that way, as I've been there too.
TF: What's the one piece of advice you think every aspiring chef should know before entering the business?
AT: If you don't think you have it in you to give all your blood, sweat and tears to a very difficult profession, get out now. It's a very difficult job. I'm a working chef. I love what I do. Perhaps one day I'll see some glory for all my unrelenting hard work.
TF: How do you keep your recipe ideas fresh?
AT: My wife and I are always out and about searching food stores, markets, and ethnic restaurants, trying new things, and thinking of ways to incorporate them into my menu items. Books; television and the Internet are great for ideas.
TF: What is the strangest dish you have ever tried? Where was it?
AT: It's called Balut. It's a boiled egg with a chick inside. Asian street food. I had it at one of my crazy Thai friends' parties. I actually liked it even though I'm not big on eggs.
TF: What would your perfect last supper menu consist of?
AT: A beautifully rare, roast sirloin of beef, spicy horseradish, fresh seasonal veggies, roast potatoes and a good jus.
TF: If you weren't a restaurant owner/chef, what else would you have done for a career?
AT:I could not think of anything else I would prefer to do, ever - food rules!
TF: RESERVED will be your first time cooking in Jamaica. What are you most looking forward to about the experience?
AT: I'm excited just to be doing something different. I'm looking forward to meeting Chef Kai from Tryall and Douglas at OCEAN style. I'm hoping too, to get at least one day in the warm Jamaican sun to chill with some Appleton Rum.
Ahead of Andy Trousdale's visit we share a recipe
Bee Pollen Crusted Goat Cheese
1 small log of goat cheese cut into four equal pieces
2oz bee pollen
4oz toasted almonds
1oz reduced balsamic glaze
1oz white truffle oil
Mix pollen and lavender together, dip one side of each of the cheese.
Place each cheese in the center of five plates.
Cut the leaves of endive at an angle & place three leaves around each of the cheeses.
Place almonds around cheese, pour over honey, swirl around the balsamic & truffle oil.