A Dessert On A Beach

Of the Earth


Conversation 4 minute read

Carrade will trade the sky-high peaks of the Pyrenees for the low-lying shores of the Maldives, the coast of the Atlantic for that of the Indian Ocean – to take up a week-long December residency at our private island resort, COMO Cocoa Island. 

Stephane Carrade

Chef, Le Skiff Club

By the pool of Haitza –  a 1930s Basque hotel nestled within a pine forest in France – is the two Michelin star restaurant, Le Skiff Club. The man at its helm is Chef Stéphane Carrade, who decided that food was his calling at the age of five, next to his grandmother in a kitchen not too far away from here.

Carrade has trained under the iconic Alain Ducasse and was recently awarded the Michelin Green Star for restaurants at the forefront of sustainable gastronomy. Known fondly as ‘Monsieur Terroir’ by French media, he revels in using produce from his local environment to create the bold fine dining that has come to define his career.

A Man Folding His Arms
A Person Standing Next To A House

Ahead of his journey, we speak to him about his relationship to the earth, his favourite original dish, lessons learnt and wisdom imparted.

How do you most enjoy celebrating nature?

I love hiking in the mountains, or walking on the beach and in the forest. I am really lucky to live along the Atlantic coast – I have a stunning playground. Food comes from nature, so I also like celebrating nature by working with small-scale farmers, artisans and wine-makers who really care about the land and its heritage.

What are you most looking forward to with the upcoming change in culinary scenery?

I am greatly looking forward to meeting Chef Kadek Sugiantara from COMO Cocoa Island. Cooking is all about sharing and discovering techniques, produce and flavours. I’m sure this residency will inspire my future recipes and menu back in France.

A Plate Of Food
Roasted wood pigeon with ham fat, quince confit with red wine, porcini mushrooms in a jus and fresh walnuts

Tell us a bit about what is – in your opinion – your finest original creation.

Roasted wood pigeon with ham fat, red wine quince confit, porcini mushrooms in jus and fresh walnuts: a signature dish that is on all my menus, because I love to make it and guests always ask about it. 

This dish embodies local sourcing. The red wine and the porcini mushrooms come from Bordeaux, the walnuts come from Perigord and the quince is from Aquitaine. Wood pigeon hunting is a tradition in the southwest of France where I’m from, and I only use pigeons caught in the same region. 

Besides being a true regional dish, wild pigeon meat is also just delicious – very tender, with a deep gamey taste somewhere between chicken and duck.

What sustainability practices have you found most easy and most difficult to implement?

Controlling food waste is a very big challenge, but my team accepts most waste-management solutions easily and well. At Le Skiff Club, our leftover food goes to a charity that feeds rescue dogs, and to our pork producer who uses it to feed the pigs. 

My personal motivation for continuing to tackle sustainability is my children. I have two kids, and I want to make sure that I’m doing my part to take care of the planet for their lifetime.

A Plate Of Food

Pan fried foie gras with cherry and almond

A Man Cooking Food In A Kitchen

Wild salmon from Adour, sea urchin dressing, white asparagus roasted with coconut rum and morel

A Plate Of Food

The “Pouple”, Arcachon bay octopus

A Plate Of Food

Grilled lamb chop, Brussel sprouts and Port-roasted figs

A Plate With Food On It

Surprise chocolate square

A Plate Of Food

Green asparagus with pistachio, candied egg yolk ravioli, Lillet sabayon

A Plate With Food On It

Sweetbread crispy cannelloni, artichoke and Marengo sauce

You decided to become a chef while cooking with your grandmother. Why?

My grandmother would spend days in the kitchen before any large family meal or celebration – she taught me that cooking is about generosity, sharing and love. Because of her, I always think about how people will feel when they eat my food. I always hope that my guests feel joy.

Your personal commitment to repairing the environmental ‘errors’ of your generation is admirable. What’s one piece of advice for the younger generation?

Don’t be selfish. Think about others. Be curious and explore your home region’s natural resources – amazing recipes can be created using ingredients from within 50km of where you live.  

What ingredients from land and sea deserve more recognition?

Octopus and cuttlefish are commonly found in the ‘Bassin d’Arcachon’ (Arcachon Bay) where I live. Both have a very interesting texture and taste that allows for a lot of creativity. 

Leeks are common, simple vegetables, but they have a very special flavour and feel. I personally like to eat leeks served slightly warm, with a vinaigrette and poached eggs.

A Plate With Food On It
Barbecue roasted avocado, truffle and mango dressing

Chef Carrade will be in residence at COMO Cocoa Island from December 1st to 7th 2022, hosting cocktails, two Chef’s Table dinners, sunrise fishing expeditions and a live cooking demonstration. Book your stay now.

W. COMO Cocoa Island | E. cocoaisland@comohotels.com | T. +960 664 1818