This week, The Global Restaurant Forum is taking place in Dubai, bringing some the world’s most sought-after chefs under one roof, including award-winning chef and restaurateur Pascal Aussignac. The executive chef and co-owner of Gascon Connection currently resides in London, where he’s opened eight award-winning restaurants, all of which serve up a taste of French cuisine in honor of his homeland. Along with his many accolades, Aussignac is best known for his innovative use of edible flowers, often choosing to cook with tulips and sunflowers for his one-of-a-kind dishes.
If you’ve ever wondered about cooking with flowers, read on for his top tips.
1. “Anytime you add a flower or a part of a flower to a dish, it becomes integral to the dish. Using flowers for decoration is not something I like to do, especially when it doesn’t add to the dish and hides the cooking or ingredients.”
2. “Always be sure to stay within season. In Dubai, I will have ‘Spring Tulip Primavera’ as part of my menu for my residency at the Burj. This dish uses the stem and flower of a tulip that is steamed. The stem will taste like an asparagus; it tastes of spring and it’s zingy and fresh. It also works well with the other ingredients – it isn’t fried or deep-fried, because it has its own flavor to add to the rest of the plate.”
3. “Use flowers inventively, based on taste. Flowers and stems are often bitter or acidic, so your dish must work with this.”
4. “Don’t be afraid to experiment. There are so many flowers and leaves you can eat, so why not cook with tulips? The stems have an asparagus-like flavor and the flowers are herbal and grassy in taste. You stuff the latter as you would courgette flowers.”
5. “Do your research and learn about all of the flower – not just its petals. Discover how and why something tastes the way it does before adding it to your dish.”