I was recently tweeting with @DavidMarteau and looked him up as I do with all new folks on twitter :-) and discovered an amazing resume - Born and raised in Normandy France, he understands the meaning of food. Chef David began his career as an apprentice and graduated from the CFA Le Mans. Always looking for adventure and a chance to create recipes from around the world, Chef David’s work has taken him to world class cities such as Paris, Belgium, Montreal and Shanghai.
I asked Chef David if he would be kind enough to guest post on chow and chatter about who he is and living in Shaghai.... enjoy all
I have travelled all over the world and I see my own transformation as an executive chef beginning when I was on a cruise ship in the Seychelles islands. After all this time, I still remember it was Praslin island. One afternoon while watching and taking photographs of the giant turtles, the executive chef approach me and asked me to go back and have a meeting with him. As his executive sous chef, I didn't say no. It was a positive conversation and I was promoted to executive chef and was gong to be in charge as of the the next cruise.
Wow! I surfed around the kitchen, placing food orders via email hoping that I had ordered enough food for everyone on board. My second career should have been as a professional juggler! I had to juggle staff schedules, menu changes and I was in charge of the food costs. I stayed with the company for 5 year and never looked back.
How does the Seychelles and Montreal fit into my life as a global chef in Shanghai? Its the foundation that set me on the course to continue to travel and explore this wonderful world and the food creations I have in store for it. Montreal was a crazy experience compared to my time on the cruise ships.
Dealing with more cooks, plumbing problems, equipment problem, sewing systems, ordering on a large scale, scheduling, payroll, inventory, creating menus for special events, a la carte menu, Xmas theme menu and so on, that if i would continue you probably would not believe me anyway, unless your are a chef yourself. It was during this time that I realized I wanted to travel again and I was committed to write my book.
When and how did I get to China? My China experience started with a 2am telephone call asking me if I could be on the next flight out of Montreal to become the executive western chef of an exclusive 5 stars hotel which had 5 restaurants, 1 lounge club, 1 bar and did I mention, 800 rooms.This was the shock of my life!! Leaving out all the boring details, My flight was 23hrs and I arrived to a driver meeting me at Pudong International airport and then I arrived at this massive hotel and started work the next day.
Moving forward, my experiences when I first arrived helps me to understand my team at the Parkyard Hotel Shanghai. I am thankful that I was patient because mutual respect runs in both directions. It continues to be a wonderful experience and a privilege to be working here in China. I love every aspect of it! Its great to be able to go to the local market and choose what I like or don't know what type of food I'm holding in my hands. I try to find time to wander around the old streets with my senior staff, and they let me discovers all those hidden wonders, which I love.
My staff are the ones that bring me to their local restaurants where i can have sample simple and delicious foods that are cooked the real Chinese way. We're not talking about the Canadian or American Chinese fast food that you find back home.It comes in all forms: soups to sweets, dim sum, bbq and even insects. Yes, I know what you are thinking but I was given them for Chinese new year. My reaction was not to be disgusted at all, but to be curious and see how I could learn to prepare some of these crazy insects.Simple enough, as they were dried and precooked. The only thing i had to do was to saute them again with some onion and eat them like that.
I have been privilege to be a global chef and believe i could go on forever about my chefs stories. I hope you've learned just a little bit about me and my experiences to go and buy my new book that will be released in January 2011.
I for one am curious about his book see below how he fuses cuisines with French flare an Italian recipe and local ingredients. I think after doing the recipe app and knowing how hard it is I really want to help others share their wonderful work. Also stay tuned as Chef David may be a future guest on the chow and chatter radio show!