There is an explosion of culinary talent in the kitchens, especially when it comes to modern French cuisine. Chef De Cuisine, Roxanne Lange is one such name. In her close to 20 years of splendid culinary experience, most of them were spent strengthening her skills in top Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe. That includes over six years of perfecting the kind of modern French cuisine for which The Reflexions is renowned. Her latest stint at the JW Marriot Hotel, Bengaluru also proved to be a successful run. Edited excerpts...
You’ve been in the culinary industry for almost two decades, do you remember the moment in which you decided to become a chef?
Yes, of course. During my younger days, I had a part-time job as a helper in the kitchen. I entered a professional kitchen for the first time and instantly fell in love with it. The energy inside the kitchen was a perfect fit for me.
What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to make your dream of becoming a chef come true?
I love my job, however, to live your passion you have to sacrifice certain things in life. I accepted this the day I entered the kitchen. Not having much time for yourself and working long hours than any other profession is a part of my life. The coolest thing of being a chef is the energy in the kitchen, the rush of being part of a wonderful team and executing the work quite well is something I live for. Also, seeing your idea turn into reality on a plate and watching my guests smile when they eat my food gives me much contentment.
An uncanny deliberation for chefs now-a-days is how their plates will be photographed by Instagram-loyal diners. How important do you think is the visual composition of your dishes?
Rule number one is always the taste of the food, but as a chef, I always look into both the visual and taste aspects. It is very necessary to consider them equally important.
You have a remarkably rich culinary background, but what work experience in your past is most at play now? Did you have a mentor to guide you through your journey with food?
For any chef, it is very important to get the basics right as this is the foundation. When I started my education, I worked really hard to master this level. I used every opportunity to watch and learn from different chefs that taught me different techniques. I have worked at quite a few classic French fine dining restaurants, so my culinary background is classic French. When I started cooking and experimenting, I used to tweak the dishes and add my own interpretations to it, which was light, delicious, creative, and beautiful. I’ve been trained under multiple chefs so it would be really difficult to point out one name. I am grateful to the chefs who have believed in me and pushed me in the right path.
What do you have on the menu that excites you the most and what French techniques do you use to execute the recipes?
Perfect balance in a dish along with fresh ingredients and produce excites me the most. My background is Dutch, hence you would find some of the other Dutch element in my dishes.
In your opinion, what are the characteristics of French cuisine that sets it apart from other cuisines?
A few unique characteristics of French cuisine are balanced flavours, perfect seasoning and the use of fat, techniques, fresh produce, masterful plating, being able to be creative and finally the sauces. French food has varieties of sauces, and each and every one of them is unique and packed with certain characteristics. The sauce is what combines all the elements in a dish.
The Reflexions offers an array of intriguing dishes and drinks in a fine-dining fashion, how do you wish to enhance this dining experience for the future?
I would like to focus more on set menus. They make the meal more wholesome, memorable and moreover an experience.