Michel Bras’ inspiring speech upon receiving Omnivore Honorary Award

Dedicated to creativity and contemporary cuisine, Omnivore Food Festival was held last week in Paris and Michel Bras was the recipient of their Honorary Award.

A cuisine rooted in a deep love and fascination for vegetables

Michel Bras’ inspiration and creativity has been an inspiration for chefs from around the world. A pioneer and a visionnaire who has built his own universe in his native Aubrac, he created the first all-vegetables course menu as early as 1978, long before the vegetables craze. In 1981, he invented the original Biscuit Coulant au Chocolat (Molten Chocolate cake) which can now be found around the globe. So does his other iconic dish, Gargouillou de Jeunes Légumes, a vegetable dish prepared with over 60 variety of ingredients. He also started cooking from his own garden long before anyone else.

Le Gargouillou and edible flowers

Today, Gargouillou de Jeunes Légumes still keeps changing daily according to Michel’s garden and Sébastien’s inspiration

Omnivore has been supporting and communicating on young chefs and creative cuisine through magazine and food festivals with chefs around the world. Their latest festival was held in Paris between September 11th and 13th. Pierre Gagnaire was on stage to hand over the Honorary Prize to Michel Bras.

Le Coulant au chocolat

Biscuit Coulant au Chocolat or Molten Chocolate Cake keeps evolving in the hands of son and chef Sébastien Bras

Here is what the legendary chef had to say to the young public, about what cooking means to him:

“I guess we are old dinosaurs, but I really feel, more than ever, in phase with this generation, yours, because I find that you have that same thing that drove me and my wife at the time, a kind of unconsciousness, of carelessness about what could be said, or what was going on out there. When we built that contemporary style restaurant on the Aubrac in the 80’s, we were taken for complete fools, who didn’t understand the beauty of our Aubrac plateau, whereas we were simply of contemplative nature. 

We kept trying to go all the way through our own path. Cooking is not a job, it’s more than that, it’s a passion. I find that, as someone who was dedicated to a scientific career and who got into cooking by accident, because I was from a family of three children and it was the eldest who sacrificed himself to get into the house, I found that this passion gave me the opportunity to be a means of expression of what is most dear to me: the notion of sharing, the importance  of aesthetics… We have a panel of expressions, a painter has his canvas, a musician has his instrument, and we have everything, we have many things, and in return, we have the happiness of people. 

restaurant Bras Le Suquet at dusk

Le Suquet restaurant in Laguiole, Aubrac

I would like to pass on this message, that I am admiring this youth who sets itself free from all the code of silence that used to weigh so heavily. I am self-taught, and in the earlier days, to become apprentice in one of the famous restaurants wasn’t possible as I was only the son of a blacksmith, impossible. I had to be patient and little by little I built, with my wife, and I insist on her, another universe. Today I am in fullness, I am fulfilled, having grandchildren and all. 

I would just like to finish with a sentence Pierre, that for us, cooking has never been about a constellation of stars, recognitions and so on, you know what I mean. For us cooking was playing, a way of expression, because we were kids. And we still are kids. I would like to quote a sentence from the French writer Philippe Delerm in which I totally agree. “I don’t have the impression of having been a child, a teenager, a middle-aged man and then an old man. I am at the same time child, teenager, middle-aged man and old man. It’s probably silly but it changes everything!”  Thank you.”

Michel Bras