Balbosté is the latest Foodie place to visit when in Paris. They cater the chicest events in town ( maybe not right now ) with their visual food concepts that you actually do not dare to eat as they are almost pieces of art and always show fine craftmanship. If you cannot make it to Paris right now browse their online shop for the best foodie gifts for Christmas.
We had a chat with Charlotte Sitbon, who founded Balbosté together with Sayaka Kaneko.
IRMA: How would you describe your concept, the visual language for Balbosté?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: It took us some time to find the right tone and way to visually express ourselves. Even if our work is mainly spontaneous and genuine, we tried to understand what our common DNA with Sayaka was. We finally developed and followed a clear guideline: dare to be colourful, dare to be joyful through your culinary creations and our universe. This is our « marque de fabrique » and brand DNA. It’s kind of an everyday mojo. We’ve started our own company to not be bored anymore and to be happier.
Continuing to develop and grow this singular and appealing territory, and enrich it with new creations, new collaborations, news ideas is our goal.
Traditional Japanese culture meets a more contemporary and artistic world. These are 2 ways of living, eating and communicating that merge in a third one, Balbosté.
IRMA: Do you follow a concept when it comes to ingredients?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: When Sayaka came to France 10 years ago, she was mostly cooking imported food from Japan. She quickly realizes that it was the eco-friendliest way to eat, and she wanted to be a better example for her daughter. She found most of what she needed in France. For example: We don’t buy Kombu seaweed from Hokkaido but from a Brittany sea farm (west of France). And our rice is from Camargue in the south of France and the salt from Ile de ré.
We really care about the raw product itself, about the grower or maker that offers us the products. We really tried to celebrate the people being the food we create.
IRMA: How do you summon new ideas?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: I would say that our main issue is focusing on our creativity and not going in too many directions! With Sayaka and the team, the creative process is really smooth and easy. Our inspiration comes from our lives, from an artistic installation or performance in a gallery, a trip, a meeting. We share all our ideas and evolve them to make it a Balbosté idea that fits our DNA.
IRMA: Can you tell us how you start and develop a new product.
CHARLOTTE SITBON: There are two ways of creating new products: from a client brief, or from our own internal brainstorming.
For a press day, an event or VIP gifts, we receive some precise briefs. Often, it’s a pitch, so we have to be surprising and creative while respecting the brand and style. I often say that we must be caméléons. Not push the same style, the same food and pieces to all our clients, not just change a bit here, or colour there. We start from scratch and search for the best creative territory. For a second collaboration with maison matisse, we developed an oversized Focaccia (1.5 m !) that recreate the shapes and colour of a famous Matisse painting. Not a typical Japanese recipe isn’t it ?! 🙂
IRMA: What messages are in those fabulous fortune cookies?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: I see you coming… you don’t want to crack the fortune cookie, so you want the messages in advance to keep it !
This is part of the process, at some point, with our food, we want you to overcome the pleasure of the eyes, to forget that our chefs spend so much time creating your unique piece, and just eat it !
If you insist, I give you one:
C’ÉTAIT QUAND VOTRE DERNIÈRE NUIT DE 9H ? CE SOIR, AU LIT DE BONNE HEURE.
When was your last 9 hours-straight night? Tonight, you go to bed early.
IRMA: Does food always have to look „cute“? Can it also look dangerous or mysterious?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: Our main guideline is positive, so there is always a little bit of cuteness that comes with it. I think we’re also a little bit mysterious on the way to showcase our work, to create the set-up around it. Our universe generates a lot of questions, sometimes during our catering people are asking a lot of questions about our food, while they should focus on the main event (ok, we like it anyway 🙂 The dangerous side? Let’s wait for the next brief on that field. Maybe with Givenchy ? The Perfume “L’interdit”?
IRMA: My father once told me as a child that raisins in cake are drowned flies… I still can’t eat raisins in cake. Do you have some irrational dislike for some food as well?
CHARLOTTE SITBON: My father told me that if I drink fresh water while I’m eating a fondue, cheese will freeze and block my stomach! Now I only drink wine when I eat fondue and trust me my family is living in Switzerland.
Follow Balbosté on Instagram, we love their feed and find out more about their latest creations.