Aubrac, a constant source of inspiration . by Michel Bras

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.

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Bras Crème caramel, a family recipe

“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.

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“So rich, smooth and tasty, here is Mémé Bras “crème renversée” (overturned custard) as we call baked custard in French. “

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Bras to open in Paris next spring 2021

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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.

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Laguiole Cheese : Reviving tradition in the last “buron”

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A centuries-old cheese culture

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.

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Michel Bras on Japanese cuisine – 2

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A spectacular range of elaborate techniques

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.

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Zen vegetarian cuisine : Cooking with your heart and soul.

Tenzo.JPGKoganeyama 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.

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Kasuisai Temple and the meditation hall Continue reading

Michel Bras on Japanese cuisine – 1

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Japanese food culture is  a major source of inspiration for many, and its influence can be seen all around the world. Let me tell you about my personal experience with this incredibly rich, complex and diverse cuisine.

I first travelled to Japan about 30 years ago. A Tokyo restaurant called Isolde in Roppongi area, asked me to cook for its customers for just a week. Then I ended up going back to their kitchen for 3 years in a row…We became friends with the owner, Mr.Yamaguchi, who opened up our eyes on Japanese culture. He took us to street food, sophisticated restaurants, and even to the workshop of a blacksmith. My first visit to the fish market, which was still located in Tsukiji, was simply fascinating. That market was just like a live encyclopedia, where I kept going back over the following years.

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All about Michel’s garden in a new book: an introduction by Sébastien

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Michel and Sebastien recently published [Le Goût du Jardin], an amazing  book about their beautiful garden. Herbs, flowers, vegetables, fruits, seeds, trees are presented just like an herborium, with dazzling photographs on every pages.

Ever since he started to cook, Michel developed a passion for plants. He has created his garden over many years, bringing home seeds and plants from all over the world, from Latin America to Asia, Europe to Africa. It is no coincidence that his signature dish, the Gargouillou, is all about herbs, flowers, vegetables, seeds that grow in a garden. Continue reading

Aligot recipe: Maison Bras takes you to the heart of Aubrac.

A regional dish made of potatoes and a local fresh cheese called “tome”, aligot (pronounce “alleygo”) is deeply rooted in Aubrac culture in the Southern part of Massif Central. Its smooth, elastic  texture stretches longer than your arm, and you’ll never forget its delicate flavor once you try it. At maison Bras, aligot is always served with the main dish, a tradition that goes back to Mémé Bras, Michel’s mother, who prepared it for the restaurant till her 80s. Sébastien has kept the family tradition, sometimes with irresistible variations such as aligot flavored with truffle oil and bread crust… 

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