EmeraldEXPLORER — Fabien Morreale Interview

Romance, history and world-class cuisine combine on our wonderful 8-day Sensations of Southern France itinerary, sailing between Lyon and Arles. A celebration of quintessential France, we’re proud to announce that we’ve enlisted the culinary expertise of Fabien Morreale, finalist in the French TV show Top Chef. Fabien has created a wonderful menu, showcasing the most delicious produce from the Burgundy and Provence regions, to be enjoyed on-board our Emerald Liberté Star-Ship at our Provençal evening, as part of our EmeraldPLUS program. We thought we’d get to know the man behind the menu, to find out what inspires him and exactly what we can expect from his gastronomic creations.

1.         How did you design your menu for the Emerald Liberté?

I have selected the best regional suppliers, chosen for their quality and diversity.

 2.       How influential is the setting for your culinary creations?

The season is my main culinary influence. I work my dishes around the seasonal and local produce that I can source.

 3.       What can guests expect from your cuisine?

It’s all about discovery with my food and being ready to try different taste and texture combinations.

4.       What do you look for in the chefs that you employ to recreate your dishes?

I need leaders who are prepared, passionate and open-minded.

5.       Invention and creativity are recognisable in your work, where do you get your inspiration from?

I get a lot of my inspiration from talking to farmers, flipping through cookbooks, and from travelling around the world. I like to provide a pleasurable experience, finding the perfect balance between sweet and salty, acidity and bitterness. I look for the perfect match.

6.       What kind of experience can guests expect from your menu?

Guests will enjoy tasty dishes from Provence, created using typical products from the Valley of Baux de Provence. I also like to experiment with different and original presentation styles.

7.       To whom do you owe your love of food and cooking?  

I owe it to my mother and grandmother. My grandmother used to cook for me and since then I was inspired!

8.       Your home of Martigues is known for its winery and natural oils, do these feature on your on-board menu?

Yes, they give my meals both a rustic and delicate feel.

 9.       Is it important to you to keep the Provençal and Mediterranean influence while not limiting yourself creatively?  

Luckily, Provence produces a wealth of local ingredients, so my creativity has no limit. However, I am also very open-minded and influenced by gastronomy from around the world.

10.   What would you consider a traditional Provençal dish?

Ratatouille is a traditional Provençal dish.

12.   You clearly enjoy creating new taste and texture combinations, what is your favourite discovery so far?

Potatoes smoked in Crau hay is amazing. And I love making herbal powders that infuse my dishes in a natural and delicate manner.

13.   At what age did you realise you had a passion for the culinary arts?

I’ve been passionate about cooking since I was 15 years old and this passion continues to grow with time. Cooking, innovating, creating and sharing, it’s all so much fun.

14.   What is it about cooking that you love so much?

It is a complex job, it combines practical and intellectual intelligence with passion and love.

15.   Is it important to you to regularly change your menus?

Seasons change, products vary. It is important that a chef renews their menu regularly.

 16.   Has your time spent learning from Jacques Chibois influenced your personal style?

Jacques Chibois is a real inspiration to me. I love the products he uses and how he uses them, especially his sauces. Working with him was incredible and something that I’ll never forget.

17.   What is the best lesson you’ve taken from your time on Top Chef?

Never admit defeat. No one is better than you, and your knowledge of the kitchen is most important.

 18.   Would you recommend the experience to aspiring chefs?

Yes, if you want to become a chef and are prepared to work hard and develop your skills.