Where are chefs finding inspiration for their food? What cooking trends and technologies have been inspiring them recently? How far they come in their quest for sustainability? Our monthly Winnow Chef's Table series we will bring you interviews with chefs from all over the world who share some insight into their culinary origins and philosophies.
In our 7th edition of the monthly Chef's Table, Brice Caro, Executive Chef at Novotel Yangon Max shares his inspiration to become a chef and much more.
Chef Brice brings over 25 years of culinary experience to Novotel Yangon Max. His previous assignments also include Rixos Hotels in Kazakhstan, Sheraton Hotel Djibouti and Sofitel Jinan Silver Plaza.
- What inspired you to become a Chef?
I’m French and I grew up in a family where we love food. My grandparents were fine chefs so I learned early to appreciate good food. Later, I decided to become a chef, first because I wanted to keep enjoying nice food and great products. Then I quickly realized how nice it is to cook for other people and to make them enjoy your food.
- Where and how were you trained?
As a chef, I got the great opportunity to learn from one of the best chef in south of France. I was trained in “Petit Nice Passedat” a multi Michelin stars awarded restaurant in my home town. Then, I moved to one other great restaurant “l’ousteau de Beaumaniere” also multi awarded by the famous Michelin guide.
In those restaurants, I learned the importance of the products and the respect for them. A chef’s main task is to sublimate the product without denature them. I also learned the rigor and the perseverance there.
- What challenges did you face when you decided you want to cut waste from your kitchen?
To be honest, the first challenge I had to face was myself. All chefs are the same: we believe that what we are doing and the way we are doing it is the best way. Winnow helps chefs realize that we are able to improve our efficiency, save product and production time by using this tool.
- How does Winnow help you in your daily operations?
Winnow is a big help. At the beginning it made us realize the quantity of food we used to trash on a daily basis. Then with the support of the daily report, we analyzed and finally adjusted our production according to our real needs.
- What initiatives have you implemented based on the data from Winnow’s reporting?
After the first Winnow report, we started to think what would be the best way to reduce our wastage without “running short” during service time. Winnow records our wastage according to our number of guests, so after a few tries we finally arrived to a better ratio food / guests.
- How do you think technology will have an impact upon how customers engage with the stories of the food, the chef and the restaurant?
Hopefully technology will help for the good of all realize that food is important and we should not waste it.
- What do you do to stay current on new industry trends?
I used to buy a lot of culinary books and magazines, now I read more online. It’s a fantastic way to keep updated on what’s happening everywhere.
- How do you see your kitchen develop towards a more sustainable operation in the future?
The future in the kitchen, at least here in Myanmar, ideally will focus more on local product. Now we have to import most of the product at high cost (money and carbon). The goal would be to get high quality local production here to develop the local businesses.
- If you could give just one piece of advice to chefs on how to tackle food waste, what would it be?
Buy product wisely. Plan in advance by what you need, in the quantity you need. Most of us used to purchase many products we don’t need and we forget them in the bottom of our fridge.
- Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
The one I consider as my mentor is Chef Laurent Chouviat. He is the one who really challenged me after my apprenticeship. He pushed me to become a better chef and he used to make my life much more challenging. But now when I go back to France I always try to pass by and say hello to him. I owe him a lot.
- Best meal ever?
One of my best memory, maybe because I was young, and it was the first time I experienced this kind of restaurant… it was at “Bruno” restaurant at Lorgues, south of France. It is specialized in Foie gras and truffle. The food was simple but tasteful and full of generosity. Since then I tried many other better restaurants but for me it was my first time, so it remain special to me.
- Favorite dish?
Any of my mom recipes, they are full of emotions and memories.
- Best places to eat out in the world?
Recently I had the opportunity to have dinner at my friend’s newly open restaurant. The food was fantastic. The restaurant name is “the Sühring” in Bangkok. Thomas and Mathias Sühring are really talented chefs!