When Top Chef arrived in France in the early 2010s, cooking shows in Europe were evolving. In the previous decades, legendary chefs like late legend Joel Robuchon, or the more epicurean, homemade cuisine of beloved Marie-Thérèse ‘Maïté’ Ordonez were both reigning supreme on a televisual diaspora that was a big part of the French cultural landscape.
It was when cooking shows were not meant for primetime. They were “fillers”, destined to display terroir and savoir-faire to the masses. Top Chef, in France, has kickstarted the era of modern food shows. Within just a few seasons, it turned into a modern audiovisual industry so influential that it would set fooding trends for decades to come. Several chefs were introduced by the show that focused as much on cuisine and technique as it did on personalities.
Pierre-Sang is part of this generation. He is even one of the pioneers on the modern French scene. The French Chef of Korean descent did not win his Top Chef venture. He came close, though: he lost the finale against now two-starred chef Stéphanie Le Quellec. What Pierre-Sang did win, though, is an incredible sympathy capital. Everybody knows the Chef. Just like his fellow Top Chef candidates Norbert or Jean Imbert, Pierre-Sang managed to leave the show with an important part of a much greater recipe. The affection of the public, that is. He even learned to master this. Quite recently, the cuisine scholar launched his Youtube channel. There, he shows what’s happening behind the scenes, teaches recipes and plays games with his fellow cooks (sic).
Now in a time where Tasty and Chef’s Table have taken over, Pierre Sang seems to be more than satisfied with what occupies him most of the time. His three Parisian addresses are now part of the landscape in the 11th arrondissement. An area which, much like the Chef, is an interesting mix of influences and flavours.
1. What is your life motto?
2. The best meal you’ve ever eaten in Paris?
A meal at home, with family.
3. A nickname that only your friends give you?
4. What was your first job?
My first job was cleaning toilets at my father’s business; I was about 13.
5. What is your drink of choice?
6. What is the single app you can’t live without?
7. Your biggest regret in life?
Not spending enough time with my kids when they were younger.
8. If you had to eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Saucisson, of course.
9. What do you hate most about living in Paris?
There are too many people and there is too much traffic
10. The top destination on your bucket list?
11. When was the last time you went to visit the Eiffel Tower?
2012? 2013? Such a long time ago. But I see it often driving by.
12. What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
13. A movie you think everyone should see?
Everyone has different taste in movies…
14. What is your typical Sunday like?
Sleeping till noon, eating with the family and taking a stroll by the Seine River.
15. Is there a moment in your life you want to relive?
Not really, no.
16. If you could live anywhere, where would you go?
Definitely in Auvergne, at Les Estables.
17. What’s a real Parisian, in your eyes?
18. Your favorite childhood food memory?
Catching fish or picking mushrooms, then cooking them for the family.
19. Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had? What is one important lesson that they taught you?
A man named Monsieur Vigouroux, living in Haute-Loire.
20. What is your unique party trick?
I always bring a lot of bottles with me!
21. A book that you could read forever?
I’m not a big reader… I like cookbooks, though!
22. Someone (anyone) that you look up to?
My parents as well as my grandparents.
23. What has changed since the Top Chef era?
Top Chef gave me the fuel to open my own restaurants.
24. Do you prefer teaching or cooking?
I prefer cooking but I also enjoy sharing the experience with people.
25. Do you prefer making videos or replying to interviews?
26. What Asian style of food do you prefer?
27. Why should people come In Oberkampf?
I have 3 restaurants with different menus. I also have a wine cellar and a loft for special events. Depending on your mood, on the occasion and your budget, you’re free to pick wherever. And they’re all in the Oberkampf area!