All about “NIAC” : a Bras secret touch


In French, “avoir la niac” (“having the niac“) means being optimistic, energetic, and never giving up. About 30 years ago, Michel Bras started to create and use special seasonings to boost, deepen, spice up his dishes.
Then with Sebastien, they created categories to use in various meat, fish, vegetable, or dessert dishes.

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Poisonous blowfish and other local wonders from Kokura, on Kyushu island, at restaurant Sato with Dana Cowin.


Chef Sato Yoshimi (left) and staff grilling fava beans, bamboo shoots, blowfish milt on skewers and Shirauo fish.

Michel Bras never left his Aubrac plateau in Southern France, for the traditional chef apprenticeship at starred restaurants in Paris or Lyon. Instead, he trained with his mother at her restaurant in Laguiole, before opening his own just outside his village, in Le Suquet. Ever since, his cuisine has been all about honoring his region. Likewise, Japanese chef Sato Yoshimi chose to open his eponymous restaurant in his hometown Kokura, and dedicates his culinary skills to bring the best out of local ingredients. “Most of the seafood, meat and produce I use come from about a 10 miles (15 km) range! Kokura has so many excellent ingredients to offer, I want to provide them in the best possible way”.

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Former [Food & Wine] editor in chief Dana Cowin meets Japanese chefs with a Bras sense

Chef Sato Yoshimi from “Sato” restaurant in Kokura, with Ise ebi (Japanese spiny lobster) and bamboo shoots from Ouma known to be the finest in Japan.

Michel Bras has been traveling to Japan since the 1980’s and even opened his only restaurant abroad on the Northern island of Hokkaido. In 2005 he launched a full line of cooking knives and cookware of the highest quality with KAI, a Japanese expert of the finest blades. Japanese food culture has been inspiring his cuisine and his exploration of tools for many years, as well as his son Sébastien.

In a series of episodes, and through Dana Cowin’s eyes, we will share with you some aspects of Japanese cuisine which  have been inspiring Bras, and vice-versa… With over 20 years of experience as editor in chief of Food & Wine magazine, she is known for her exceptional knowledge and experience of culinary culture throughout the world.


Dana Cowin having a Soto Zen vegetarian meal at Kasuisai Temple

This spring, she travelled through three different regions of Japan: Kokura in Kyushu island, Toyama on the Japan Sea coast, and Shizuoka on the Pacific side. She met several outstanding chefs whose skills and philosophy are dedicated to their regions and their seasons.


Toyama’s characteristic ingredients coming into a beautiful plate at ”L’évo” near Toyama 


Dana Cowin with Kasuisai temple chef Koganeyama Tenzo


Dana Cowin with Chef Fujii HIronori from restaurant “Fujii” in Toyama


Local stripe shrimp and herbs at “Himawari Shokudou” in Toyama

Dana has also shared her culinary trip on her radio show and podcast Heritage on tour :                                                                                                                                                                    


Michel Bras recipe – Mother’s Day Special: Honey & Butter Apple Compote

Here is a sweet and easy way to share your love with your mom on her special day. Let the fruit of love get slowly soaked with honey and butter, for a warm and mellow celebration.


This is a delicious and old fashioned way to cook caramel that I just love… You won’t regret taking your time and letting the apples slowly absorb the honey & butter caramel, with that fragrant hint of vanilla!

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Aligot and the Bras family : a common thread


Aligot is a regional dish prepared with mashed potatoes, butter and a local fresh cheese known as “tome”. In a traditional style, aligot is cooked in a big cauldron over the fire in “burons”, Aubrac typical shepherd’s huts. Its elastic texture is stretched with a large, paddle-like spoon. Using tome cheese, which should be fresh but not too much, gives the unique texture that makes this dish so special.

Aligot has always been served at Bras restaurant to all customers, with the main dish. And for many years, it was Michel’s mother, Angèle, who was in charge in the kitchen to prepare it. As former cook and owner of auberge Lou Mazuc, where she trained young Michel, she knew exactly how to transform plain and simple ingredients into this delicious dish.


After she retired, Michel then Sébastien, continue to serve aligot to every guest. As Sébastien explains, aligot is a symbol of Aubrac culture and its delicate texture is the perfect companion for an unforgettable meal.


A simple yet perfect combination : Potato salad with white truffles by Michel Bras himself !


The flavor of white truffles is so delicate, you don’t want to lose it preparing dishes that are too elaborate. Michel Bras suggests this easy recipe, so simple yet so delicious, to enjoy their subtle aroma at their best. The simplicity of plain potatoes will enhance the subtle aroma of white truffles. You will also enjoy the contrast between the textures. Continue reading

Sébastien BRAS interview on Michelin stars (Sept.2017)

“Why I declined the Michelin stars” Sébastion BRASM&B1

I wish to waive the Sacred Graal of gastronomy.This 3rd star is a dream for dozens of chefs but I’ve decided I didn’t want it anymore.Just like sportsmen declining medals,actors declining Oscars.Among the 50 clients who come each day for lunch and for dinner,there might be inspectors checking if our restaurant lives up to Michelin’s expectations,and this causes a permanent tension,which I don’t want anymore. Continue reading