Interview. Toulouse. His cassoulet is the best in the world: chef Romain Brard reveals its secrets
Through Gabriel Kenedi
“It’s a great recognition! “. Romain Brardchef and restaurant manager The Genty Magre in Toulouse, won the final of the 7th Toulouse cassoulet world championship.
His cassoulet seduced a jury including the starred chef Michel Sarranof the President of the Occitanie Region, Carole Delgaand comedians, the Knights of Blight. A success that rewards twenty years of work for the restorer! Toulouse news went to see Romain Brard. The chef takes the opportunity to explain how he works this traditional dish and reveals some of his secrets! Interview.
“We have always made the same cassoulet”
News: Why did you decide to take part in the Toulouse cassoulet world championship?
Romain Brard: “We opened our restaurant almost 20 years ago. We do traditional bourgeois cuisine. We don’t run after trophies, we don’t have stars, we don’t do Instagram cuisine… There, the idea was to have a little line somewhere, that our name would remind our customers that we exist! I saw an ad in November for this championship, and I decided to register , so that people know that we make cassoulet… And finally, we won!”
What made the difference, in your opinion?
RB: “We’ve always made the same cassoulet! It’s a traditional cassoulet, quite rich in meat. The few times I eat cassoulet at the restaurant, I complain that there are almost only beans with two or three pieces of meat inside… We, it’s really simmering with pork rinds, candied pig noses, ears too, which turned out to be from Maison Garcia. is a fairly rich cassoulet!”
“The pork we put in does it all! »
Is there a special key?
RB: “Not really, actually! We don’t use too many spices: cloves, juniper berries, herbs, bay leaf, thyme, we also add a little bit of tomato, but it’s very light because it’s not a lamb navarri either! When the cassoulet is too dark, I don’t like it too much. It’s just to get a little dark side to the cassoulet. I think it’s mainly the pork that you put in that does the whole thing! For 100 portions, you put eight to ten kilos of candied meat!”
Is cassoulet a dish that takes time?
RB: “We spread this over 48 hours because there are phases of rest. We start first with a small broth with all the meats and the sausage, and the beans are cooked in this broth. Then we make an assembly to put the everything in the casseroles, including a duck leg confit, for the final cooking in the oven by the portion, just before serving to customers. It is this mixture of broth, rinds and ears, which brings the smoothness and the creamy side with cassoulet. If there’s too much fat, it’s disgusting, if there’s not enough rind, it’s floaty… There’s a balance to be found!”
“The lines of mashed potatoes, we’ve never been in there”
How do you feel after winning this award?
RB: “It’s a great recognition! Traditional cuisine hasn’t been fashionable for a very long time! Apart from cassoulet, we do little regional cuisine at Genty Magre. Toulouse sausage is very rarely served in apart from cassoulet. But this price is a pleasure! Since Top Chef and all those TV shows, people like lines of mashed potatoes, sauce dots, flowers… We’ve never really been into that! has always tried to find a balance in the plate so that it is neither too rich nor not enough. It is still generous dishes!”
Are there cooks who inspire you?
RB: “I have a model, a chef with whom I did my first internship, and with whom I went to eat not very long ago, by the way! It’s the Relais de La Poste, in Magescq , in the Landes. Chef Jean Coussau is 75 years old and his cuisine is very interesting. He has always done the same thing. He is a two-star chef, so it is still high level. And I find there- low what I can’t find in other restaurants. We are quite marked by this style of cooking, where we feed people above all, before impressing them! We must not forget that a restaurant, normally, we go there when you are hungry and to eat!”
“We will stay as we are! »
Does this title give you other desires for competitions?
RB: “Not necessarily! We’re going to Japan around this cassoulet world championship (the next edition of which will take place in Tokyo, editor’s note). So we don’t really know what to expect yet, but we’ll be there. It will be a nice trip! But more generally, we will stay as we are. We are open four days a week, from Wednesday to Saturday, noon and evening. We are closed in July and August. We limit ourselves to 35 covers, whereas we We started in 2004 with a small team, and over the years, with the success of the restaurant, we grew. We set up a tea room, Le Petit Magre, which I “I sold in 2016. We were about twenty people at that time. Since then, the Covid, we have gone back to basics. I’m only in the kitchen and my partner Priscillia is only in the dining room. With 35 covers, there is a good balance between work and life on the side. We have a pleasant living environment and we intend to keep it.
Did you know ? The best cassoulet in the world can also be enjoyed to take away!
While it is obviously possible to taste chef Romain Brard’s cassoulet directly at the restaurant (allow 30 euros per person), the establishment also offers a “take-away” version of its favorite dish. “The only difference is that there is no duck leg, unlike the one served in the restaurant. This can be a good solution for sharing a cassoulet with friends at home!”, comments chef Romain Brard . The cassoulet, served in a jar, can be picked up directly at the restaurant. Count 30 euros for a jar containing 1.6 kilos of food.
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