Lady in the House: Chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s Simple Elegance

As someone who has done her fare share of cooking, I have mad respect for anyone undertaking the daily grind of working in a professional kitchen, let alone running one. Yet as a woman, I can’t help but revel just a wee bit more in the achievements of the many female chefs out there who are gaining the culinary respect they so deserve.

Take Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, for example, of the newly opened, Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace at the Lausanne hotel in Switzerland. Not only was she born with plenty of solid cooking genes (she’s the daughter of Chef Jacque Pic and the granddaughter of Chef Andre Pic, who are both award winning culinarians in their own right), she is currently the only female chef in France to earn three Michelin stars.

With a penchant for creating exquisite dishes plucked straight from the water, Pic’s vision is both elegant and understated. Whether you’re going a la carte or savoring a multi-course “Pic Collection”, Chef Pic reinterprets many classic, regional French specialties with her own unique refinement and flair.

Fresh crab and Aquitaine caviar is accented with “flaked crab jelly” while a ubiquitous slab of foie gras is roasted and topped with a black cardamom peach jam. Pic’s grandfather’s recipe for crayfish tail gratin is honored as is her father’s exercise in gastronomic indulgence, sea bass topped with either 20 grams of golden Osetra caviar from Iran or 30 grams of Aquitaine caviar.Seasonal and regional specialties also make frequent appearances, especially as they relate to Pic’s signature seafood dishes. Wild, red mullets are served with smoked Agria (a type of potato) gnocchi’s “cooked in hot embers” while roasted John Dory is accented with a creamy broad bean ravioli and “foamy milk” infused with rum from Martinique.

Desserts, courtesy of award-winning Chef Patissier, Philippe Rigollot, make for a sumptuous ending and boast whimsical titles like “Raspberry and the Mexican Tarragon Flower” consisting of a raspberry/tarragon sorbet topped with crystallized, candied raspberries.

A meal at restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace doesn’t come cheap (the chef’s seven course tasting menu will set you back roughly $300 per person), yet guests are not only offered exquisite cuisine, they are treated to a refined service at every stage of the meal that is described on the website as having “the lightest touch”.

While pricey dinners might appear to be a thing of the past, especially during an era of lay-offs and foreclosures, I believe a dining experience at the Beau-Rivage is worth saving one’s pennies for, even if it’s simply to support one of the world’s great, female chefs.