From the Food Vault Dept.: To have chef Roger Vergé visit Albany in 1987 was a Very Big Deal. I was already a fan by way of his book Cuisine of the South of France, and was delighted to cover that visit in the piece below. As you’ll notice, I also got to taste some excellent food and wine into the bargain.
WHEN ROGER VERGÉ was five years old, his aunt Celestine bought him a small bench so that he could see over the top of the kitchen counter. It’s a view – and a point of view – that stayed with him for the next half-century.
“It is very important to have kids in the kitchen,” says Vergé, who cites tales of his own children’s cookery. “My daughter was eight and we were preparing some dessert tarts. I watched as she filled a tart with honey and then sprinkled sugar on top. ‘Why did you do that?’ I asked her. ‘How else are you going to cook the sugar?’ she said.”
He calls his cooking “Cuisine of the Sun.” He emphasizes freshness and creative seasoning. “I like to cook with herbs,” be explains, “and it is very important to have a mixture of fresh vegetables on the table, too. These are all sun products.” At his restaurant in France, Le Moulin de Mougins, he offers a menu not only crafted around what’s available and fresh any given day, but one that also stresses a harmonious blend of food and wine.