We love Chefs with character, especially when it comes to their unique culinary skills with no boundaries, who runs and rules the kitchen all by themselves. Not only with such personalities that could surprise you in their menu creation and opens seasonally as well as by appointment only, such rare finds can only be found mainly by words of mouth's recognition. mylifestylenews was invited to meet the modest French Chef, Jerome Coldefy who founded La Cuisine, a hidden gem nestled in the other part of the world - Koh Samui, Thailand. Off the beaten tracks, this Le Petit Francias Restaurante may not offer you any silver service or Gueridon service, yet, let the gastronomy of Chef Coldefy mesmerize your palette by his traditional French creation. As ever, do not judge the book by its cover and be prepared to expect the unexpected, surprises always awaits......
How and when was La Cuisine started?
I opened La Cuisine in 2011 on the 4th of August, three months later, we had a major renovation and I did myself with the help of a Burmese man. My wife and I had changed every thing in this house, we broke the walls, created a kitchen, had a few new painting. It took a lot of hard work to make this work.
What kind of French inspired cooking/cuisine in La Cuisine?
My styled of cooking can be described as “bistronomique“ - a mix of gastronomic but without the “ tralala “ of the starred restaurants.
How is it different from the traditional cooking/Bistro style?
You can understand the idea of La Cuisine cooking concept in “bistronomie“ - high cooking with fine ingredients and lovely selection of French wines “crus“. The same kind of dishes you can find in a starred restaurant but with a simple atmosphere, we can compare to an “ auberge “ in France.
How do you see Taling Ngam a potential for a French dining?
What I was looking for is a typical and traditional village far away from the touristy areas where our’s guests can appreciate the true charm of Thailand especially in this small Thai fisherman village.
What’s your marketing plan for La Cuisine?
We would like to offer something that do not exist in Koh Samui with an unique experience of Luxury, Gastronomy, Culture, a place where my guests can spend time with very good food, French Wines as well as the spirit of Thailand, an cultural chat, in a very quiet environment with something more “ exotic “ than a gastronomic dinner by the beach on the Siamese gulf.
La Cuisine serves up to 12 guests maximum for one evening, how does that work?
I accept only 3 to 4 table a night and around 12 guests because I want them to enjoy a unique experience because I do every thing myself with only one assistant. My cost are nearly only the price of the ingredients of my food.
What are the challenges running La Cuisine?
18 hours of work everyday, not hesitate to have your hands “ in the engine “ and a lot of passion dedicated for the job and of course a lot of love to our guests.
How and where do you get your supply from?
I have a lot of suppliers as all my ingredients mainly comes from oversea. France for sure is my first food origin, small farms in Lot department for the foie gras, the ceps mushroom and black winter truffles. The cod fish and monkfish from north Atlantic sea and scallops from north sea near Brittany. The Angus beef and sweetbread are from Australia or New Zealand. It is really a daily task to be abe to purchase gourmet food in Koh Samui and sometimes it is important for not being hesitated to tell your guests “ Sorry today this dish is not available “ if you cannot obtained the perfect ingredient.
Do you incorporate local ingredients in your cooking or just solely traditional French?
I do and I have, when I find some fresh vegetable from Thai North organic farms , but 95% are imported.
La Cuisine also a one-man-show in the kitchen, what’s your concept of kitchen management? What is your ideal amount of people in the kitchen to run La Cuisine?
My restaurant is very small and I want to keep it very quiet as my guests can have a very unique experience. So, in the kitchen it is a one-man-show with 2 assistants who help me and prepare the ingredients and materials exactly at the second when I need them.
How long have you been as a chef?
I do not know if I am a “real chef “ I am a passionate men who want to share my passion with my guests. All my life I had cook for my family, friends and customers and had learn a lot from starred Chefs in France.
What were you before working as a chef? Tell us a little of your background?
I was a marketing manager and vice president in sales in a small packaging company.
What does La Cuisine like to achieve?
La Cuisine is a place at the crossroad of gastronomy, arts, and passionate people; a rendez vous with guests from everywhere around the world who want to share some very unique experience.
How compatible is La Cuisine in comparison with the hotel’s restaurant in term of selection and price?
At La Cuisine the menu is very small, 5 starters, 6 main courses and 5 desserts. In terms of price, since everything is imported and very carefully selected. Quality is the key and our price can as as competitive as 5 stars resorts' restaurants.
What would you like to achieve as a chef?
My dream is to open La Cuisine in different part of Asia and to have more opportunities to meet with amazing people to share my passion in the arts way of life.
What are the ingredients you use most of the time and what’s you use less? Why?
I do not have this problem, my menu is small and I focus on each individual dishes at its best.
Foie gras mi-cuit
(Goose Liver Pate)
Fricassee d’escargots aux morilles
(snail fricassee with morrels)
Brouillade aux truffes noires d’hiver
(Scrambel eggs with black winter truffles)
Dos de cabillaud sauce au caviar sevruga
(Back cod fillet with sevruga caviar sauce)
Fillet d’Angus marbre 9 sauce aux cepes
(Angus fillet marbling 9 cep mushrooms sauce)
Special sorbet macarons et French pastries
What do you see in the nouvelle cuisine/molecular cuisine?
For me, the "nouvelle cuisine" was created in the fifties and sixties by some monument of the French gastronomy Fernand Point , Paul Boccuse, Michel Guerard, brothers Trois Gros Alain sanderens and orchestrate by Gault ant Millaud the 2 french Gastronomic food critics. Molecular cuisine is an over way, it is only flavours not a real dinner. It is very interesting but for me not a sharing experience, perhaps I can compare this to an amazing painting exhibition where the feeling is impossible to share. Adria Ferran is an artist but in molecular cuisine you have a lot of mountebank playing with smoke foam and gelatin.
Do you have a mentor to look up to? Why?
I I love the food of Jean Francois Piege (my foie gras is inspired by him), Regis Marcon, Michel Bras, Robuchon, and “ les Meres lyonnaises.
What would be possible be if you are no longer a chef?
Venturing something in arts and something with passion where you can meet people
Do you cook when you are not at work?
Less and less, since I work a lot so I do not have a lot of time for me and my beloved wife, and our family.
What do you normally cook off work?
Something very simple as pasta with butter emmental cheese and a slice of ham and I also love to go out and try some lovely restaurants.
What is your ideal meal should have? Why?
The most important is to have lovely friends around to share the food. For me eating is the perfect time to exchange views and meet new friends.
What is your regular comfort food? Why?
My regular comfort food is to a very light Chang beer and since I quit smoking, I had put on weight. So in the next few months, food will not be a pleasure but just a reasonable diet.
What kind of food do you normally go for when you are out dining?
For sure French food as I am not a very open to others but I also love Italian food and some Spanish and Moroccan dishes.
What is your favorite possession?
The love of my wife and children and our’s paintings
What is you ideal way of a living lifestyle?
Meet people, build my dreams and share them with my beloved wife, Florence.
Baan Taling Ngan
Ko Samui Thailand
+66 82 286 7502