Country / City: UK, London
Online presence (Facebook, Instagram, Weibo, etc.): @lechefpaski
Profession / Occupation: Chef, owner
Pascal Aussignac manages eight establishments in the British capital. At just nine years old, Aussignac decided to become a chef. As a teenager he worked restaurants before training at catering college in Bordeaux-Talence.
His first job was for Gérard Vié at Les Trois Marches restaurant in Versailles. Aussignac was barely 18 years old when he became sous-chef at his bistro, Le Potager du Roi before moving to join Alain Dutournier and Le Carré des Feuillants.
From here Aussignac moved to Les Restanques in Grimaud. This was followed by stints in Florida and Beirut to gain new insights into the restaurant industry before coming across Vincent Labeyrie who was keen to set up a London restaurant.
One year later, in September 1998, Club Gascon opened its doors. In 2002, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star that the team have held onto ever since.
As the restaurant was such a great success, Aussignac and Labeyrie converted the neighbouring premises into a wine bar. One year later, Comptoir Gascon, an experimental patisserie and bakery was opened. These were followed by various projects around the city and, most recently launched a van, the Duck’n’Roll, in the district of Shoreditch.
Caption: Pascal Aussignac has become a symbolic figure on the gastronomic scene in London.
Caption: Cigalon pays homage to Provence, without resorting to clichés.
Why did you choose to live in this country? What aspect of these two cultures do you find most enriching?
London was a default choice. I wanted to be based in Paris, but life had other plans for me and I don't regret it, quite the contrary. The cultural differences work together and you benefit from becoming more open-minded.
What French touch do you pass on there? What French Art de Vivre are you sharing with others in the country?
My cuisine is partially based on an "entente cordiale" between a new twist on the cuisine of the South-West of France and iconic British produce. I find it interesting to give our compatriots unexpected flavours or surprising pairings.
Being from Gascony, my menu of foie gras IGP from the South-West of France is unique in the UK.
With eight restaurants to manage, ranging from fine dining to fish & chips and street food, I try to bring French quality to each venue.
Which experience epitomising French Art de Vivre in your country and/or city would you recommend?
London is a cosmopolitan city with an extremely wide range of cuisine, so quintessential French Art de Vivre is represented at French restaurants, such as Le Gavroche, Le Manoir aux 4 Saisons and the Waterside Inn. Of course, you also have Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and Helene Darroze at the Connaught who also provide French cuisine.