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Recipes for success: Chef Thomas Jean-Paul Pascal Colette offers advice and a special salad recipe

DUBAI: French chef Thomas Jean-Paul Pascal Colette has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens in Paris and influential restaurants in Moscow. He is now the chef at the restaurant Tilina nad vodu in the resort of St. Regis Red Sea.

Colette says his passion for cooking came from his grandmother, also a cook. “I always helped her and it was quite natural that when I was around 12 years old, if I was alone at home, I would try to cook something for myself or my family,” he tells Arab News.

Here, he discusses common kitchen mistakes, annoying customers, tips for amateur cooks, and shares a special salad recipe.

Tilina in Red Sea Resort St. Regis. (Supplied)

When you were starting out, what was the most common mistake you made?

Pepper. I started in a Michelin restaurant and it wasn’t just salt and pepper. It was all about balance in the food, so you also have to think about acidity and things like that. So it was quite complicated in the beginning. Every time my chef tried something I made, he said, “No, it’s not good. This, this and that are missing.”

What is your best tip for amateur cooks?

Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t be afraid to fail, because in fact, many great dishes have come from failure. Try it and enjoy it – that’s what cooking is all about.

What one ingredient can instantly improve any dish?

Many chefs will say it’s love – because you have to care and love what you do. But for me it’s salt. Seasoning is so important. Even if you have the best ingredients, if you don’t season them, they will lack flavor.

When you go out to eat, do you criticize the food?

Not. Even if something is wrong, I would never tell the chef. If I see a mistake on the part of the service or if there is a dish that I don’t like, I would try to learn from it so that I don’t experience that with my own customers.

Tilina in Red Sea Resort St. Regis. (Supplied)

What is your favorite cuisine?

It’s really about the cook, not the kitchen. If I want to go to a restaurant, I find a chef I want to try, so it’s either a set menu or his signature dish. And when I go back to France, I have to have a nice steak tartare.

What is your favorite meal if you have to cook something quickly at home?

Pasta. You can play with it so much – you can do it with fish, with meat, with vegetables… Boil water, put pasta in it and see what you have in the fridge: maybe some shrimp, some tomatoes, some garlic and parsley. It is perfect.

What customer behavior annoys you the most?

Request to change the ingredient in the food. When I make food, it’s all about balance. So, if you take out one ingredient, then the idea of ​​food no longer makes sense. I really try to avoid it. I’ll go talk to the guest and instead of changing the meal, maybe I’ll try to make him something special, something different that he would like.

What is your favorite food to cook?

Seafood. This was my childhood in Normandy: On Sundays, when the sea was low, we went to collect fresh fish. We would come home and cook them very simply, with a little garlic, parsley, cream and done. So seafood always reminds me of this time.

What are you like as a chef? are you strict

You cannot run a kitchen without discipline, everyone must be focused during service. But I don’t believe that discipline comes from yelling, but from mutual respect.

Chef Thomas Red Sea Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

500 g heirloom tomatoes; 3 Carabineros shrimp; 10 g of chives; 10 g of salmon roe; 5 g of gelatin leaves; 1 egg yolk; 100 g of grape or sunflower oil; 10 g of olive oil; 1 lemon; 50 g of parsley (leaves)

INSTRUCTIONS:

For tomato jelly

1. Process 250g of tomatoes in a blender. When the mixture is smooth, strain it through cheesecloth.

2. Place the gelatin sheets in cold water.

3. Take 50g of tomato mixture and heat to 50°C. Add the gelatin, let it melt, then add the rest of the tomato mixture.

4. Pour 80 g into each of the three bowls and place in the refrigerator.

For tomato tartare

1. Boil 1 l of water.

2. Use a small knife to make a small cross at the bottom of the remaining tomatoes.

3. Put the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, then put them in ice water, remove the skin and dry them with a paper towel.

4. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove the insides to get the tomato petals. (Save the insides for later, they can be used for the sauce.)

5. Cut the tomato slices into cubes with a thickness of 0.5 mm.

6. Finely chop the chives.

7. Mix the tomatoes and chives with 5 g of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and salt and place in the refrigerator.

For marinated shrimp

1. Clean the shrimp. (Tip: If you keep the heads and shell, you can use them later in a sauce or soup).

2. Cut the shrimp into 1 cm cubes.

3. Mix the shrimp with 5 g of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and lemon zest. Let them marinate for 10 minutes.

For the parsley mayonnaise

1. Heat 100g of grapeseed oil to 72°C, then pour it into a blender with parsley and blend for two minutes.

2. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth.

3. Put 1 egg yolk, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk while slowly adding parsley oil.

Plating

1. Take the jelly plates out of the fridge

2. Place a circular disc on top of the jelly and place 1.5 cm of tomatoes and 1.5 cm of marinated shrimp inside. Remove the circle.

3. Finish with a few dollops of parsley mayonnaise and a few dollops of salmon roe.

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