Jean-Luc Rocha on Gastronomy as Art

Jean-Luc Rocha of Chateau Coredeillan Bages in Pauillac, France, is recognised as being one of the country's most exciting and innovative new chefs. Rocha's love affair with food has seen him move away from his classical cooking training and join the world of haute cuisine, where he has developed a reputation for excellence in his contemporary style.

Where did you grow up?

In Franche Comté in the North East of France

When did you realise you wanted to be a chef?

When I was 11 years old and I began senior school some friends of my family had a restaurant and a gastronomic shop.

Is there one dish you still struggle to get right?

There was a dish of my grandmother of the local Brebis lamb stuffed with rice and vegetables and small pieces of Chorizo sausage.

What does it take to be a successful chef?

Consistency, hard work and the desire to good things.

Worst job you have ever had?

I had to peel and shape 12 boxes of artichokes in one day when I was sixteen.

What is your signature dish?

Sesame bouillon ‘Pain perdu’ with seaweed and a fine julienne of squid.

What can people expect from your restaurant?

The best food served in an incredible place set in the centre of the great vineyards of Bordeaux, in the Medoc, which is a neighbour of the ‘Grands cru’ vineyards of the great Chateaux including Ch. Lynch Bages, Chateau Latour and Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

What is unique about your restaurant?

To spend some time going around the vineyards between the land and the sea of the Medoc.

What is the chef serving in Heaven?

Manna contemporaine

What is the most bizarre dish you have ever tried?

Snake and lizard in China.

What is one question people are always asking you?

You were so young when you began work, what was it that enticed you along the road to the haute cuisine?

What is your biggest food indulgence?

Home cooking, fresh pasta, and dishes like mashed potato.

What flavours/ingredients are your favourite to work with?

I like to marry the flavours of sugar and salt, acid and spices, fish and meat……

Which three people would to invite to a dinner party?

My teacher when I was an apprentice, my wife and my friend who is a chef in Shanghai.

What is your best tip for home cooks?

Simplicity, respect flavour and choose only the best products and then work on the textures and presentation.

Jean-Luc Rocha will be sharing his insights on preparation and technique in exclusive masterclasses from the 18th - 22nd January, as part of Tony Bilson's Cuisine NOW festival at his Restaurant Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney.

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