Anne Sophie-Pic did not originally plan to be a chef although she grew up with a love for food. Fate and her family’s reputation, deeply steeped in restaurants, intervened. Her chef grandfather, Andre, and her father Jacques Pic, had already made Maison Pic Valence one of France’s most awarded restaurants.
After initially embarking on a career in management, in 1992 Anne-Sophie decided she must realize her dream and started to train at Maison Pic. She was unaware that just three months later she would become head chef when her father sadly passed away.
Freedom of Expression and Audacity
To understand Anne-Sophie Pic’s cuisine, one must understand Anne-Sophie Pic as a woman. She is passionate, sensitive, free, and determined. Her path exemplifies a unique strength of character, for as a self-taught woman, much conviction, perseverance, and faith were asked of her in order to establish herself in a firmly male-dominated universe. She began her journey guided by her palate and sense of smell. When she enters the kitchen, she relies solely on her emotions and intuitions to create her dishes.
She learns technique through practice, which affords her the immense freedom to associate tastes, create her own style, and seek balance and precision in all things.
In fact, Anne-Sophie Pic is always moving. She is perpetually seeking new, complex flavor associations. The Chef loves finding non-consensual flavors such as the bitter, the acidic, the salty, the roasted, and the smoked… to tame them. She incorporates often overlooked produce such as beetroot, turnip, or cabbage.
To explore all of their possible uses in the kitchen, she approaches the ingredients in their totality. Rather than cinnamon sticks, she prefers the cinnamon leaf.
A Permanent Quest for Perfection
To Anne-Sophie Pic, a dish is a living thing, just as degustation is not a linear exercise. Each bite must procure a different gustatory emotion, at times powerful, at times delicate, at times smooth, at times bitter. The permanent search for perfection pushes Anne-Sophie Pic to always improve her creations, to reinterpret some, and to abandon others, in order to rediscover them all over again later. Such is the routine in the panorama of her culinary mind.
Nevertheless, there is a permanence in this movement, it is audacity, the search for balance, aromatic complexity but also delicacy. That’s where the beauty of the moment lies: the equilibrium between aromatic power and the delicacy of expression. Her cuisine does not reveal itself immediately. It comes subtly for those who know how to listen, how to look, and to take their time.
“In order to enrich my cooking and ways of conceiving a dish, it is very important for me to create a dialogue between the different universes which gravitate and creativity in general.”Anne-Sophie Pic