BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: ALIX LACLOCHE

Alix LaCloche is a French American chef with a storied career that includes time spent at Chez Panisse, Boulettes Larder and Alain Ducasse. These days you can find her in Paris preparing and sharing meals for the homeless; her day includes rounds around the neighborhood dropping her magical creations to those in need. With a deep creative practice that doesn’t stop in the kitchen, this artist approaches life with a playfulness we admire. Welcome to the wonderful and whimsical world of Alix.

 

Please share with us who you are, and how you “describe yourself?”

I am a half French and half American cook. In 2012 I started a small catering company in Paris that creates « sur mesure » food events. From making the food to displaying it in a beautiful way, to enjoying watching people eat. 

I am a lazy workaholic that is always making things with her hands.

Where are you currently located, and what does a day in your life look like lately?

I am at home in Paris. 

I wake up to the sound of birds instead of motorcycles at 9am. After 5 mins of dry lymphatic massage, I drink 50cl of coffee. Until 1pm I am making something with my hands (sewing, ceramics, painting). Then I bake and cook to be ready for food distribution at 6pm. Then it's a 30 minute Zoom gym session, then a walk and then back home to clean the mess I left.

Who is inspiring you in the world of food right now?

Anyone fighting for survival, doing anything to keep a revenue flow for their employees, making food for people in need. Anyone spreading positive vibes. 

I saw that you are helping to feed those in need right now, can you please share more about that.

They are more visible then ever. I wanted to contribute and encourage people to do the same around their area where ever they are the world, and it’s working.

What does a day of eating look like for you? 

Grilled levain bread with anchovies and a lot of lemon juice with fresh mint and coriander. Hot ginger tea all day. Apple compote with a lot of vanilla. Steamed greens and then too much leftover cake from the food I make for the homeless people around my neighborhood.

What do you always keep in your fridge? 

Pickled ginger, preserved lemons, fresh herbs, opened homemade jams, miso paste, loads of butter, pandan, maple syrup.

What are your favorite flavors?

Anything with fresh mint and coriander. Lime pickle over rice. Coconut pandan steamed rice cake. Cold sesame noodles with peanuts and plenty of fresh herbs. Crunchy croutons in raw greens. Cooked tréviso salad. Grilled cheese.

How do you cultivate creativity, any rituals or routines you rely on?

Having the windows all opened with the sounds of the city is my favorite. And the birds at dawn. Also listening to podcasts on economics such as Planet Money on NPR or listening to a book on Presence by Michael Brown on audible.

What is your favorite cookbook?

Hors d'oeuvre, 34 Recipes by June Dutton

Favorite kitchen tool?

A little knife from the shop Dehillerin in Paris.

Can you please share a recipe with us, one you find yourself turning to more often than not. 

Yes, croutons! Here is my recipe for croutons learned after my time cooking for Amaryll Schwertner in San Francisco.

CROUTONS:

Cut the outer crust of a 2 day old levain bread. Be careful not to cut your fingers. Ideally use a serrated cake knife.

Come as close as you can so you just cut the crust and not the inside. Then make any form you like and cut in small bite size pieces.

Put a on sheet rack in a warm oven for a few then put them in a bowl and sprinkle with oil and coarse sea salt. 

These will be great in a green salad with fresh herbs, a pulled chicken salad, mixed in any raw vegetables, over warm broccoli with tahini.

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