Meet the Chef at Chez Vous in Warlingham, Laurent Pacaud
PUBLISHED: 17:43 07 November 2013 | UPDATED: 17:43 07 November 2013
During his 30 years in Surrey, chef Laurent Pacaud has combined his French roots with a British flavour to produce a blend of the finest cuisine, most recently at his latest venture, Chez Vous in Warlingham. Here, we put him under the Surrey Life spotlight...
On your travels, have you found a local food or drink producer that you are particularly fond of?
Ridgeview Wine Estate on the South Downs is very impressive! The quality of their sparkling wine is as good as French Champagne and is now a popular choice on the Chez Vous wine list. We were lucky enough to be invited there for a wine and food tasting event recently on a rare day off. It was a very enjoyable experience.
How about a farm shop?
Priory Farm in Nutfield is the first farm shop I ever visited years ago and they are still providing a good choice of local products. Chez Vous’ origins are in the Reigate/Redhill area, as we started catering for weddings and events over 12 years ago here, so we consider the area and the farm to be part of our locality and our history. I have hosted a number of menu demonstration events at the farm over the years with my ‘Local Celebrity Chef’ hat on!
Do you have a favourite farmers’ market in the county?
Not as such, but the South of England Show is definitely a big date in my diary as Ardingly holds fond memories of my first years in the UK. It is an annual event but one to look forward to as they have an array of things going on from local food producers to retail stalls, which my wife definitely enjoys!
Is there another chef in the area whose cooking you particularly admire?
I would have to say none other than Martin Bradley, of course, my friend and business partner whom I have the great pleasure of working with every day. Martin was the face of Chez Vous Catering when I was head chef at La Barbe in Reigate where I worked for 27 years. His expertise and vision for great food was fine-tuned at the likes of the Savoy, London Hilton Park Lane and Gleneagles. He has even catered for The Queen, Nelson Mandela, the French Ambassador and Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister.
If you were asked to make a signature Surrey dish, what would yours be?
It would have to be a slow-roasted pork belly and pork fillet with a Norbury Blue cheese sauce and Champ mash. All of these products can be sourced locally around Dorking and the surrounding area.
What would you say is the most distinctive aspect of your cooking?
After nearly 30 years of living and working in Surrey, my cooking would be described as a fusion of French and British expertise. I started my career as an apprentice under mentor Jean Claude Pastoureau in La Baule, France. There I successfully finished as ‘best apprentice Ouest of France’. After a year cooking for Michelin star chef Yves Chopelin in Monchengladbach, Germany, I performed my military service in the French Navy, where surprisingly the standard of the cuisine had to be really high providing meals for 12 commanders. On return to my beloved Pornic, I seconded Yves Vetelle in Le Gilles de Retz before embarking on my long career in Surrey.
Taste Laurent’s cooking at Chez Vous, 432 Limpsfield Road, Warlingham CR6 9LA. Tel: 01883 620451 / chezvous.co.uk