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If you're passing near Cancale in northern France, stop over at one of the Maisons de Bricourt… there are several houses scattered near the Bay of Mont St. Michel. "I was born in the first of them," says Olivier Roellinger, referring to a St. Malo-area building dating from 1760 that once belonged to East India Company ship owners who imported silks, porcelain, precious woods and spices.
Is it because of all the time he spent contemplating the ocean, or because he grew up in the privateers' wake, that Olivier Roellinger decided one day to trade in his chemist's smock for a chef's coat? An autodidact, he sent out in search of adventure, to immerse himself in the tastes of five continents and the exotic notes of spices that, once blended in his crucible, take us on an unforgettable journey. From this careful, always-searching alchemy are born masterpieces that sing with inventive flavours.
It was his own passion that led him to this profession. It's his vehicle for expression, for sharing his joy for life.
Subtle nuances and astute pairings come together in Olivier's saucepans: coriander, green fennel, mace and white pepper join forces in one pot to create a delicate consommé uniting oysters and foie gras. In another, vetiver, cumin, coriander, sumac, saffron, lemon thyme, basil and black pepper add a touch of mystery to scallops and sea urchin roe. Then cardamom, ginger, turmeric, lemon grass and coriander flavour the "Return to the Indies" John Dory; finally cinnamon, pepper, cumin, green cardamom, Szechuan pepper and star anise form a "spice blend from the colonies" that enliven spring vegetables and razor clams.
The distant horizon is the backdrop for Olivier Roellinger's cooking: it attracts him like a magnet and shapes his creative imagination. And since great maritime cuisine has never known any borders, as it brings together both past and present with an eye on the future, Oliver Roellinger will always lead us towards new discoveries: seeds, spices, scents and flavours…
"I am," he says, "a travelling cook!"
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