PARIS: Paris is not exactly the place known for vegan cuisine and we were surprised to see a vegan tea time on the menu of Shangri-La Hotel’s restaurant La Bauhinia.
One more reason to chat to Monsieur Cristophe Moret , the chef and creative force behind the restaurant in the atrium of the Shangri-La Hotel and a fan of vegan cuisine.
IRMA: How did you come up with the idea of creating a “green menu”?
CHRISTOPHE MORET: It all started in 1998 when I was working at “Spoon, Food and Wine”; more and more clients were asking for vegan and green menus. In France, we are lucky to have a great choice of products, and offering a green menu is a clever way to propose our clients a great culinary offer. Moreover, I think that the green offer has a bright future.
IRMA: You offer a vegan tea time. What is the patisserie like that you are creating and what is the most important ingredient you are using for it?
CHRISTOPHE MORET: Creating vegan patisseries was a true challenge, as we could not use anything coming from animals, but we did it. We (Head Pastry Chef Michaël Bartocetti and I) had to use a lot of alternative products such as coconut, tofu, oleaginous purée, vegetable milk, hazelnut, almond, and so on.
IRMA: The mix between authentic French and Asian cuisine is visible in various dishes on the menu. Do you also take the cooking methods from one culture to the other?
CHRISTOPHE MORET: It is true because I think a cook must remain curious, especially in France as we have always been at a crossroads in Europe. In my cuisine, I like to use a wok to cook and some ingredients and inspirations from South-East Asia as the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris has Asian origins and we must honour them.
IRMA: Which is the herb you are using most frequently?
CHRISTOPHE MORET: I particularly love tarragon because of its surprising twists between mint and anise, as well as marjoram that pair well with zucchini.
IRMA: Which is your favourite restaurant off-duty when dining in Paris?
CHRISTOPHE MORET: Kei Restaurant has an exceptional atmosphere – French gastronomic cuisine done by a Japanese chef!
IRMA: Where do you look for inspiration?
CHRISTOPHE MORET: My inspiration comes from nature. I go to the market every Sunday and my inspiration directly comes from the vegetables and products I find there. The touch, the aroma, the colour, the shape, everything is a great source of inspiration for me. I really need to see the product.
IRMA: How often do you change the menu?
CHRISTOPHE MORET: We first change the menu following the season, and then we make regular changes based on new arrivals of products or vegetables such as mushrooms, asparagus, and so on.
The beautiful picture above of the vegan gateau au chocolate was taken by Slanelle & Christoph Amav from for Paris-ci l’addition