Michel Bach (2 Michelin starred Chef)
At Le Puits Saint Jacques in the département of Gers we meet Bernard Bach. His two Michelin stars were awarded in recognition of his approach to cooking as a blend of the authentic and the innovative, the down to earth and the wildly imaginative.
The son and grandson of restaurateurs, Bernard grew up among the pots and pans of a kitchen full of noise, activity and lovely smells. At 13 he began to earn his crust as a waiter and later set off on a tour of France which ultimately led to his first Michelin star in 1995.
His Return to his homeland
Paris, Strasbourg, Deauville, Cannes, Porto Vecchio… Then, in 1999, he came back to the Southwest. He settled with his family in Pujaudran, a little village in Gers less than 30 km from Toulouse that is a staging post on the St James's Way pilgrimage route (lien vers rubrique chemins de Saint-Jacques). He achieved his second star in 2008.
His approach to cooking
This is based on respect for the seasonally selected produce he uses and the top-quality contribution by the producer or farmer.
The Essence of cooking
"It's essential to be able to identify the taste of everything that is on one's plate."
A beautifully built and elegantly aged Gascon house decorated in a smart rustic style. The calm, relaxing ambiance makes it the perfect place to savour his menu.
His secret garden
This is the garden at the family home where his father Joseph grows courgettes, salsify, parsnips, parsley, beetroot, mangetouts and more…
The chef’s suggestions
His leg of Lauragais duckling Rossini in a barberry jus with petits pois; and also his fillet of gilthead bream baked in its skin in a fennel court-bouillon with lemon confit.
Being a local enables Bernard to seek out the very best produce in the surrounding countryside, including the finest Gers foie gras, Hubbell squab (young pigeon) and 'Lou béthêt' suckling veal.
His favorite Midi-Pyrénées Wines
Domaine du Cros Marcillac AOC, Domaine Belmont vin de pays du Lot, Domaine Haut Campagnau Côtes de Gascogne and the Gaillac AOC produced by the Plageoles family.
His cooking classes
Bernard loves to teach, and once a month he holds his very popular and sociable 'Les matinales' cookery class. His desire to pass on his knowledge has also resulted in him publishing his Carnet de recettes, a magnificent recipe book for those who want to learn to cook like Bernard.
The price of lunch at Le Puits Saint Jacques
From €28 (price of the 'Au retour du marché' set menu served from Wednesday to Friday lunchtimes).