If nomen est omen, then Chef Nicolas Magie couldn’t have been named more appropriately. A fourth-generation chef, Chef Magie runs the gourmet restaurant at the fabulous Le Saint James Hotel in Bouliac (near Bordeaux), where diners can enjoy his truly magical cooking.
When chef Magie isn’t busy cooking culinary masterpieces or enjoying a G&T, his favourite drink, which even features in one of his elaborate starters, he enjoys playing rugby and performing in a rock band.
What is your background?
My family has always run restaurants in nearby Cenon and I plan to open one there myself soon, combining it with my work for the Saint James. I’m also happy that my son is following the family tradition, so there will be even more Magie chefs!
Where did you learn your art?
I’m glad you call it an art, because that’s what cooking is. Apart from being a craft too. Over the years, I’ve worked at Michel Gautier’s Rouzic in Bordeaux; La Chamade Bordeaux and Le Pavillon des Boulevards Bordeaux.
I then moved to Spain for a year because I enjoy the Basque cuisine and I worked at Le Miramar in Biarritz. After that, Paris called and I worked at Hotel Le Crillon. I‘m proud to say that I received 2 Michelin stars and I am hoping for another one. I joined Le Saint James as chef in 2012.
What is the most important thing for you about food?
I love meat, fish and, above all, seafood. What is most important is the freshness, therefore I use local products as much as possible. Luckily, Aquitaine has an abundance of delicacies, so I’m never short of material to create my dishes.
What do you think about fusion cuisine which is so fashionable?
Nothing! If I want to eat Chinese, I go to a Chinese restaurant. I’m a purist, the basic ingredient has priority and should dominate the flavor. There should never be more than three flavors in one dish, and sauces should complement the dish and always be served apart and never poured directly onto the meat or fish. I also use little butter and little cream. When cooking, I like to play with opposing flavors, such as the sweetness of lobster combined with green apples. Presentation is also important because we should eat with all our senses.#
Do you have a signature dish?
Not really, but I like to create my favorite starter: grilled scallops, topped with caviar and a crème flavored with gin tonic. It’s very popular.
Do you still play rugby and have a rock band?
I try to keep fit and a little rugby now and then is in order. As for the band, I used to be a member when I was younger. I love New Wave and rock and sometimes I might just pitch in, but there is no time to be a real member of a rock band now.
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