There’s arguably no better person to judge the France-themed episode of The Final Table than Anne-Sophie Pic, a chef who was born into a pedigreed restaurant family and blazed her own trail in the culinary world. Here’s everything you need to know bout the celebrity chef who’s serving as a judge/mentor along with eight other titans of the kitchen on Netflix’s new competition show.
Who is Anne-Sophie Pic?
With a handful of celebrated restaurants in Paris, London, Switzerland, and Southeast France, Anne-Sophie Pic has earned the reputation as one of the living masters of French cuisine. Her eponymous restaurant in her hometown of Valence, France currently holds three stars from the Michelin Guide. Since beginning her career in the kitchen over 25 years ago, Pic has opened a cooking school, published 10 cookbooks, and developed her own line of gourmet take-out food. Seven years ago, the chef was named a Chevalier in the Legion of Honour — the French equivalent of being knighted.
What was her journey through the culinary world like?
Pic comes from a long line of accomplished chefs. Her grandfather André Pic opened the family’s restaurant in Valence, Maison Pic, which earned three stars from Michelin. Her father took over the restaurant in 1959 and eventually turned it into a Nouvelle Cuisine destination. Although Anne-Sophie initially decided to study math and science at school, she returned to the family restaurant in 1992 to train under her father, just three months before he died of an aneurism at 59.
Following his death, Anne-Sophie managed the front of the house, while her brother Alain took over in the kitchen. Maison Pic lost its second Michelin star in 1995. When Alain decided to leave the kitchen, Anne-Sophie took over and slowly began changing both the menu and the decor of the dining room. By 2007, the restaurant had won its third star back, and Pic was on her way to becoming one of the country’s most popular chefs.
2009 saw the opening of Restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic in Lausanne, Switzerland (which currently holds two Michelin stars), followed by the debut of La Dame de Pic in Paris three years later. In 2015, Anne-Sophie was actively working on opening her first American restaurant in Manhattan, but plans fell through. In Europe, she now has eight restaurants and one hotel to her name.
What is Anne-Sophie Pic’s food like?
Growing up in a restaurant family (and literally above the kitchen itself), Pic started developing her culinary palate from a young age. Although Pic has a deep knowledge of classic French food, her dishes are lighter than her father and grandfather’s creations, and more complex in terms of the layering of flavors. A typical menu from Anne-Sophie Pic Restaurant might include soft boiled eggs with mushrooms and a pink-geranium consommé, or raw carrot with orange-blossom yogurt and voatsiperifery pepper. A big part of her creative process involves mixing and matching different ingredients to see what flavors will go well together. “If the creative spark is strong, it goes well,” she says. “One day I thought of pairing smoked pigeon with green anise and peas. I tasted it once, and just knew it was right.”