Q&A with bread master Thuet

Fourth-generation Alsatian chef Marc Thuet is redefining organic cuisine in his new Bistro Bakery Thuet.

by: Reuters | 25 Mar 2008

Thuet, 44, uses some of his family's 200-year-old sourdough from France to make bread at his restaurant, Bistro Bakery Thuet.

Customers had often pleaded to take a loaf home, so he built a boulangerie in a corner of his restaurant and began supplying shops in the city. Later he opened his own Atelier Thuet Fine Food Store, with an adjoining but more casual dining room, Le Caveau.

Q: How is your restaurant different from before?
A: "The new menu is going to be more organic. I'm going to work with more organic food, Alsatian bread. When I say organic, it's also natural. I don't like the name organic because it works for vegetables but for me, for meats it's very important to have naturally grazed beef – on barley and some grains – but no corn, no soya."

Q: Organic seems to be such a buzz word right now – do you think the label has a shelf-life?
A: "Organic, or a way of better eating, is here to stay... At first, the best vegetable was the perfect vegetable. I think if you see the farmers who don't use pesticides, who really follow Mother Earth. Their vegetables are not perfect but definitely like everybody always says, you are what you eat, and I think more and more you hear that now.

Q: It sounds like you're redefining the term organic ...
A: "It's not really redefining, it's just trying to protect these little guys out there who actually have the same passion as we do. They don't have the money to get that organic label. Each country has its own laws about what's organic. I don't want to say I'm redefining organic but I definitely want to get to the point when people are going to come to Thuet, the milk in their coffee will be organic milk, the butter in the sauce will be organic."

Q: Do you have a word to describe your cuisine style?
A: "It's very hard to say what my cuisine style is. I like to work definitely with the freshest ingredients. I like game meats. I like everything that's forbidden to be served. It's what the season brings me. You bring me something and I'm going to find a way to use it, I'm going to find a way to make it taste good.

Q: Why did you become a chef?
A: "My first bath was in a kitchen sink between services. It was between lunch and dinner. They'd throw us in the kitchen sink. By the age of six or nine I was working in a kitchen already. I really liked the atmosphere, I liked the people. By the age of 12 or 13 I could hold one station in the kitchen without any problem.

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