What are you doing / where are you working right now?
I am Head chef on a 92m motor yacht
Who is your food hero (dead or alive) and why?
Joël Robuchon – as a mentor and inspiration for my generation of chefs and he is still the most Michelin starred chef in the world.
What three ingredients could you not live without?
Salt – it helped humanity form ancient times to preserve their food and grow civilizations – it is an ingredient with multiple uses in my job
Butter – the key ingredient in French traditional and modern cuisine
Eggs – because I can cover any sort of meal and use numerous culinary techniques with it
What are your three favorite cookbooks and why?
Yves Thuriès Magazine has been a reference for me since 1988.
Chef Nobu did some great books that helped me a lot to understand and practice Japanese cuisine.
Alain Ducasse, Le Grand livre de cuisine : la Méditerranée
What three kitchen gadgets could you not live without?
My old knife set
Colour coded chopping board set
Imperia pasta machine maker
What piece of equipment should every yacht have in the galley?
Multi-Functional Rational Oven.
What would you say are some of the most overrated ingredients?
The organic and Bio labeled products. I prefer to work closely or directly with the farmers or producers.
What would you say are some of the most underrated ingredients?
Cabbage, Garlic, Sage… They are not so expensive, but super healthy and I love to use them.
What has been the most popular (or requested dish) on a yacht by a guest so far?
My Bouillabaisse with Caviar & Lobster.
If you were a guest on a yacht, who would you want to cook for you and why?
Chef Jacques Maximin – a great master of Mediterranean cuisine with a charismatic personality.
What music do you listen to in the galley (if at all)?
Local radio station, where the yacht is based.
Best galley tip/hack?
Clean as you go.
Respect your produce and working environment.
What is the most difficult location you have ever had to provision in? And what bit of advice can you give to figure out where to go?
Airport of Malé in Maldives, because of the import authorities and paperwork. You better have a serious food supplier and agent.
What is the hardest part of your job?
I love every aspect of my job- from cleaning and provisioning to the actual cooking and service and management…
What do you see as being the biggest challenge for chefs in the industry moving forward?
I am feeling compassion for the chefs, restaurant owners and their families who have been affected by the COVID crisis. I hope that 2021 will be better and brighter year for all colleagues.
What would you say to people who stereotype chefs as being prima donnas with big egos?
We are not opera singers! No, I’m joking. Our job is to provide service that is always the result of a team effort.
What is your attitude toward crew with dietary requirements?
I am flexible, happy to please everyone but reasonable and respect the budget.
What is the weirdest most bizarre thing you have ever been asked to cook?
Whole camel biryani dish; 60 kg whole fresh tuna fish; Rooster testicle soup…
Name something you have cooked for guests that you are most proud of?
Cauliflower parfait; my special Duck Terrine; Cristal champagne risotto; Poulet en Vessie (Chicken cooked in pig bladder) by Chef Paul Bocuse a recipe that is the origin of the sous-vide cooking…
When you are interviewing a chef to work for you, how do you know if they are any good?
I look for a person with sense of curiosity & enthusiasm, with healthy habits.
What one thing should all chefs do to help the environment?
Use reusable bags when shopping and collect and recycle used cooking oils
What one thing can chefs do to limit food wastage?
Do not overstock with fresh produce, having a good inventory system in place always helps
If you weren’t a chef, what would you want to be?
Professional rugby player.
Name: Alain Bijou
Years’ experience as a chef: 25 years with 8 years as Head chef on motor yachts