About 30 years ago, I created my own seasonings I call “niacs”, a mixture of various ingredients to boost my dishes. It can include herbs, seeds, nuts, and others. Citrus zest play a key role in my niacs because Sébastien and I love the fragrance and punch they bring to a wide variety of dishes, from starters, main to dessert, including our Gargouillou.
This is how we came up with a brand new tool called “Le Moulin”, that can grind an amazing range of ingredients including candied citrus zests, in order to boost dishes with unique blends of fragrance and textures. Le Moulin is a fantastic tool that grinds various ingredients at once, to create instant “niacs” according to your mood and inspiration.
“Pain aux Epices” is a comforting and incredibly rich cake to enjoy anytime, alone, topped with honey or fig jam, for breakfast or a snack with hot chocolate or a good cup of tea at the end of a cold afternoon. Michel Bras uses generous amounts of spices and citrus to make the experience even more intense.
Michel Bras never left the Aubrac plateau in southwestern France, where he grew up and established his restaurant near Laguiole village. A vast high plateau where the sky has no limit, Aubrac is the realm of natural beauty. Maison Bras was designed as an open window to the ever changing lights and colors of Aubrac for the guests to enjoy them as a part of the whole dining experience. “Gargouillou”, the Bras signature dish, was inspired like many others by this exceptional environment. Prepared with over 60 varieties of seasonal flowers, vegetables, seeds and herbs, the dish celebrates the nature and beauty of this magical plateau. Michel tells about his fascination in his own words.
“Mémé” Bras have passed on her passion for cooking to son Michel and grandson Sébastien, and her recipes have been preciously kept by her family. Here is her recipe for a French classic dessert and an all-time favorite. All you need is eggs, milk, sugar, and some vanilla for flavor.
“So rich, smooth and tasty, here is Mémé Bras “crème renversée” (overturned custard) as we call baked custard in French. “
The Bras café-restaurant “La Halle aux Grains” will be located right under this impressive glass dome, decorated with a 400 meters-long panoramic fresco.
The Bras restaurant annual opening was delayed by two months and a half due to the current corona virus crisis. Since June 17th, Maison Bras in Laguiole is welcoming guests again, and Café Bras in the nearby Musée Soulages in Rodez, also reopened mid-May. This year, the Bras were also due to open their first Parisian restaurant inside the Pinault Collection, but this opening too was postponed to next spring 2021.
Cheese is deeply rooted in Aubrac culture. The famous Aubrac breed, beef and dairy cattle with a wheat-colored coat, are part of the landscape.
“Lou Mazuc”, the first Bras restaurant opened by Michel’s mother Mémé Bras in Laguiole village, was named after a famous song celebrating buroniers, these men who produced Laguiole cheese in shepherd’s huts called burons, or masuc in Occitan language.
I always feel uncomfortable whenever someone uses the word “bland” about Japanese food. To me, this could only be a false debate. The truth is that since the ingredient is always picked at the best moment, at the peak of its expression, and the role of cooking is to enhance its natural savor at its best.
Whether you take the heat control, fermentation, aging process or cutting skills, every single cooking technique is perfectly mastered in Japanese cuisine, with utmost precision. When I say “technique” I don’t mean it in the way we tend to use it these days. I am not talking about technique for the sake of technique, that is too often used at the expenses of the food. The techniques I’m referring to all have a solid backbone that is built upon experience, observation, and a profound, almost spiritual respect for the ingredient.
Koganeyama Taigen, Kasuisai temple’s “Tenzo” (chef). A famous specialist of Shojin cuisine, the Tenzo gives cooking classes open to anyone. The temple has Japanese style guest rooms too.
Kasuisai, one of the major Japanese Zen temples, is located just 2 hours away from Tokyo in a beautiful countryside. Former “Food & Wine ” editor-in-chief Dana Cowin traveled to Kakegawa to discover the art of traditional Zen cuisine known as “Shojin ryori” with the temple’s chef, Koganeyama Taigen.