Text and photos by Cesare Zucca

We are in the Anderlecht district and we discover La Paix, 2 Michelin stars, open since 1892, refined but without ostentation, deeply local cuisine but open to the world. Inside, many vintage photographs tell the story of the place, intertwined with works of art by Charles Kaisin, Kasper Hamacher, Lana Ruellan, overlooking a splendid open kitchen, led by David Martin.
Between the dining room, the kitchen, Natalie’selfies and the unstoppable arrival of dishes to taste…… I was able to interview the Chef.
Bonsoir David, ritual question: where do you spend a weekend off?
In the Basque Country, with a fixed stop at the Asador Etxebarri restaurant. I love to taste other chefs’ cuisines, but be careful … never steal the recipe, rather try to understand techniques and procedures. For example in Japan I tasted fantastic fish dishes where the technique is interesting, the cut is good, the spices are right and the broth is intense but light, unlike some of our consommés …I I have to confess: I am quite curious, but never asked for the recipe, if anything the skill is appreciated and imagined for my cuisine which is half Spanish and half French, which loves creativity and imagination, with an eye to Japanese techniques. I take it you love Japan … Yes, I’ve been there 10 times and every time I am amazed by their way of cooking, of making broth, of cooking fish at such a high temperature …

Volaille du Pèrigord, yubeshi, vino gialloDo you like traveling in Italy?

Do you like to travel in Italy?
Sure, travel and eat! Both Natalie and I love South Tyrol and South Tyrol, where we found wonderful taverns, we appreciate the hospitality of Emilia-Romagna starting with the Gastronomic Clinic, the first and only restaurant in Italy that got the Michelin Star in 1959. We went to Vico Equense with the great Gennaro Esposito and the impeccable Don Alfonso, all legendary kitchens where the same recipe has been served for more than 20 years.

Limone farcito con aragosta,stracciatella e caviale

So you are in favor of ‘evergreen’ recipes …
Yes! I always tell my kids it’s no use inventing 20 new great dishes every year … it’s impossible! I’m 51 years old and if I manage to invent a dish or two a year … well, I can say I’m really happy.

Your first memory in the kitchen?
Towards the age of 6. Papa Felix played and sang in a band where the saxophonist had a restaurant in the South of France. I was there on vacation and loved helping him in the kitchen. My specialty was peeling potatoes, an operation that required care and precision, following a demanding protocol that wanted them to be the same size in order to get perfect cooking all at the same time.
David had you not become a chef you would have been …
Probably a car racing racer or a musician, as I play the saxophone. Yes one of these two or maybe both …

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