(This feature was published in GMA News Online last February 16, 2014)
Most children dream of becoming a doctor, lawyer, or even an astronaut when they grow up, but Richard Toix was not like most kids; he knew that he wanted to be a chef someday.
He discovered his love for food at an early age, and during his teenage years he secretly applied to a culinary school without his parents’ permission. His tenacity to enter the culinary world to hone his cooking skills has led him to what he is today—a Michelin-starred chef.
A pinch of passion and a dash of determination
Toix, who recently spoke to Manila journalists on Skype, is a native of Perpignan in France. He got his culinary education at Lycée Hotelier, then moved to London to do more training with the Roux brothers at their three-Michelin-star restaurant. He returned to France when he was around 30 and worked for various restaurants before opening his own establishment.
It was in 1993 when he and his wife, Laure, launched their first restaurant, Le Champ de Foire in Lencloitre. They opened another restaurant concept in 2007, Passions et Gourmandises, which offers traditional French cuisine presented in a modern way.
Barely a year after the Toixes opened Passions et Gourmandises, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, an honor for any chef.
Chef Richard said that he likes to work with the season, to ensure the freshness of the ingredients he uses. He also makes sure to support local suppliers, as sustainability in cooking is also important to him. In his restaurant, the menu changes every month and the degustation menu changes every day, depending on the availability of produce and other ingredients in the local market.
With over 20 years of culinary experience, Toix has mastered the art of food fusion, which diners may perceive in his artistic plating presentations. In 2010, he collaborated with Zhou Tiehai, a Chinese contemporary artist, to fuse painting with traditional French pastries as part of a grand exhibition.
Even after decades of being in the culinary world, Chef Richard says that he continues to wake up with a smile on his face, as his passion for cooking has not wavered.
A week in Manila
Manila’s gourmands will have the opportunity to sample his world-class cuisine when he visits the Philippines to cook at The Tivoli from February 24 to March 2. Food connoisseurs may either partake of the business lunch or the six-course degustation menu.
His menu includes potato black truffle croustillant with brown butter, lapu-lapu filet, crabmeat avocado cannelloni and shellfish vinaigrette, and lamb loin in seaweed crust, lemon pâte and garnish.
His culinary creations might be too pretty to eat; make sure to feast with your eyes first to fully appreciate the artistry of Chef Richard Toix.