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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 currently the chef at the waterside restaurant Tilina in the St. Regis Red Sea Resort.

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

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

Tilina in the Red Sea resort of St. Regis. (Included)

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

Seasoning. I started in a Michelin-starred restaurant and there it wasn’t just about salt and pepper. It was about balance in the dish, so you also have to think about acidity and such. So it was quite complicated at first. Every time my chef tried something I had prepared, he would say, “No, it’s not good. Missing this, this and that.”

What’s the best advice you can give to amateur chefs?

Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t be afraid to fail, because in fact many great dishes have come from failure. So try to 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 about what you do and love what you do. But for me it’s salt. Spice is very important. Even if you have the best ingredients, if you don’t season them, they will lose their flavor.

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

NO. 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 some food that I don’t like, I just try to learn from it to prevent this experience for my customers.

Tilina in the Red Sea resort of St. Regis. (Included)

What is your favorite cuisine?

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

What dish do you choose if you need to cook something quickly at home?

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

What customer behavior annoys you the most?

Request to change an ingredient in a dish. When I prepare a dish, balance is the most important thing. So if you remove one ingredient, the idea of ​​the dish no longer makes sense. I really try to avoid it. I’ll go talk to the guy and instead of changing the dish, maybe I’ll try to make something special for him, something different that he would like.

What is your favorite dish to cook?

Seafood. This is what my childhood was like in Normandy: when the sea level was low on Sundays, we went to buy fresh fish. We would come home and prepare them very simply, with a little garlic, parsley, cream and that’s it. That’s why seafood always reminds me of this time.

What are you like as a chef? Are you rigorous?

You can’t run a kitchen without discipline, everyone must be focused while serving. But I don’t believe that discipline comes from shouting, but from mutual respect.

Chef Thomas’s Red Sea Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

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

INSTRUCTIONS:

For tomato jelly

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

2. Put the gelatin leaves in cold water.

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

4. Pour 80 g into each of three bowls and put in the fridge.

For tomato tartare

1. Boil 1L of water.

2. Using a small knife, make a small cross on the bottom of the remaining tomatoes.

3. Place the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, then place them in ice water, remove the skin and pat dry with paper towels.

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

5. Cut the tomato petals into 0.5 mm thick cubes.

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, then put in the refrigerator.

For marinated shrimp

1. Clean the shrimp. (Tip: If you save the heads and shell, they can be used in a sauce or soup later.)

2. Cut the shrimp into 1 cm cubes.

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

For parsley mayonnaise

1. Heat 100 g of grape seed oil to 72°C, pour it into the blender together with the parsley leaves and blend for two minutes.

2. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth.

3. Put 1 egg yolk, salt and pepper in a bowl, mix and slowly add the parsley oil.

Plating

1. Remove the jelly plates from the fridge

2. Place a round disc on the jelly and put 1.5 cm of tomatoes and 1.5 cm of marinated shrimps inside. Delete the circle.

3. Finally, add a few dots of parsley mayonnaise and a few dots of salmon roe.

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