My name is Andy Floyd
and I love the country of France. Why because there is no place else on the planet that is so devoted to the world of food, wine and gastronomy. A meal is very important here and everyone is passionate about what they put into their stomach. This photo essay is a compilation of some of my favorite places and people (some who are deceased) who have played a significant role in my culinary life.
Robert Brunel one of my
closest friends in France. He runs two restaurants in Avignon and has visited me on several occasions in the U.S. Without his help and his amazing network of friends I could not have created such a top notch France program for budding chefs.
A mountain of salt at
La Baleine salt production in the town of Aigues Mortes. Aigues Morte was the departure point for the crusades
The Cigale, a type of
locust, is the symbol of Provence. You are supposed to hang one at the entrance to your home for good luck
One of the reasons the
visits to Beaucastel were so memorable were due to Fabrice Langlois. Fab would captivate our students imagination with his perfectly orchestrated presentation and would have all of us salivating for a taste of Beaucastel I can still hear his comparison of each varietal to an instrument in an orchestra in my head. And he did not disappoint when it came time to taste.
Michel Depardon died in March
2006. He was the cowboy of Provence and loved the US especially Montana. He was one of the most irreverent people I’ve known and no one was beyond his ridicule. The more serious the person the more prime the target. He was also one of the most generous. I would especially love to watch him work the dining area at Sette e Mezzo. He was in his element there. Pick up a joke at one table, pass it on to the next, run into the kitchen to prepare a quick dish, pick up a bottle of ros é on the way back and always a little bit of grappa to rinse out the espresso cup. He showed me part of Provence I would never have found on my own and introduced me to people that continue to be friends. I will never be able to return to Provence without thinking of him.
Michel Receveur, a culinary teacher
of 30 years and a Maitre Cuisinier de France joined our instructional staff after Michel Depardon passed away. He is a born teacher and our students loved him. Watching him cook was like watching Escoffier’s son cook. Classic all the way, but extremely flavorful Here he is preparing some girolles and a roasted pork rack
An American chef from New
Orleans named Jon Chiri also joined the ranks from time to time. He has lived in France for the last ten years and has worked his way through some of the top restaurants in the area.
Another amazing pastry talent joined
our team. Olivier Lemauviot, had worked at la Mirande and is a graduate of the Valrhona pastry school. His passion for dessert and bread is contagious. His carefree and creative energy is inspirational.
I would be remiss if
I were not to include reference to Gallit Sammon. Many of the pictures in this presentation were taken by her. Michel Depardon would call her petite vague or wavy. If she came up with a dish, he would write it up on the board as sauce wavy or à la wavy. She is one of the most optimistic people I know, a great chef and an excellent teacher.
Here is an olive tree
guarding the Pont du Gard that was around when Jesus died. A reminder that some things are timeless.