Could you tell me a little about you and your trajectory? What made you choose a creative pathway? I see that your work with Cantine Laszlo goes beyond traditional cooking.
I have been living in Paris for over eleven years after leaving my native Switzerland. I studied dressmaking in Switzerland at the ECL (Ecole Cantonale de Couture Lausannoise) and was lucky enough to pursue my passion at Chanel studio in Paris. During the first ten years of my professional career, I devoted myself entirely to the exercise of my know-how as a petite-main. As the years went by, despite my attachment to my profession, I began to miss the freedom to express my artistic fiber so I turned to cooking. I see no difference between sewing and cooking. I would even say that I sew while cooking. From this perspective, I conceive new projects. I love cooking with new ingredients. It pushes me to be creative and try out new recipes. During this perpetual learning process of my second job, I have the chance to meet beautiful people during my residencies sometimes, sometimes in my country, sometimes abroad. Being attentive to the traceability of my products is important to me so I collaborate with superb suppliers who are themselves responsible for their production. When I organize large receptions, dinners, and events, I usually think and design the entirety of its aspects in collaboration with my clients. Thus, I do not only think about the menu I am going to create, but also about the decoration of the place, the main theme of the evening with all that is involved in receiving people around a beautiful table. My meticulous approach to cooking also allows me to create food set design for photos and videos.
How did you start working with food? What does it appeal to you?
As I explained earlier, it was my desire to develop my creativity. I don’t feel like I started cooking at any point in my life. I grew up with it, I learned naturally. It’s a passion that lives in me entirely. Since my childhood and I think until my old age.
How do you think your upbringing influenced what you do today?
My upbringing has had a big influence on my whole life. Growing up as the middle child with a big brother (Léonard) and a little sister (Margot) taught me to share, and we always took care to make the moments around the table important. My Swiss grandmother Monique, as well as my Italian grandmother Elisabeth and my aunt Christiane Felix, who had a B&B called Chez les Colins, also influenced me a lot, as did our different backgrounds and lifestyles. I have always liked to meet other people and like a little chameleon to melt into a universe with simplicity and curiosity.
The village where I grew up has been very inspiring for me and always will be. Growing up in the middle of nature with good products nearby, going to the market, knowing the origin of products, being aligned with the seasons with a rich and reasonable diet. These are principles of life that I continue to apply in my daily life.
My friends and the people I have encountered have also been very inspiring to me. My best friend Anouck, my partner Léonard and my family, of course, were the most important people in my first steps in the kitchen. They were extremely supportive and gave me the confidence to show it. They’ve also always been there to help or accompany me on big projects. I’m lucky to have them close to me.
Like everyone else, I absorb everything around me, then I show it, I share it, I express it with my care. Life is so beautiful when we are attentive to everything it puts on our road.
Auprès is much inspired by the art of handcrafting. What’s your relationship with handwork? Working as a petite-main and cook this is intrinsic, as these are almost entirely manual processes, but I would love to hear from you.
The cook’s job is a job that I did not learn to perfection in a school, like the sewing job. Today every gesture and movement of my arms is dictated by my former profession. When I talk about my change of profession, of life, I often explain that it doesn’t change much for me… I simply sew with other materials that are now related to the world of cooking. Hence my very meticulous work. My hands will never stop creating. I think I will always keep the same soul and creative need in my hands but they will never stop gesticulating. So sewing, cooking, gardening, painting, weaving… Anything that offers me the possibility to share movements with my fingers, my head, and a support, gets grabbed by my hands.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?
In everyday life as well as during my travels, meetings, and residences. There are many things that inspire me for my work as a cook. Not only the world of food but also the world of nature, painting, sewing, materials… Traveling to other countries is incredibly rich as a way to get inspired. Italy is beautiful, France is vast and varied. I draw a lot of inspiration from my Swiss origins. It is essential for me to show around the Swiss recipes so little known throughout the world.
Do you have any rituals or routines that help you maintain a creative energy flowing?
I don’t have a specific ritual but my daily life leads me to travel, discover new products, meet new people. All of this awakens my creativity and makes me curious to work on new products. So, over time I write down many ideas in my notebook that come to me during the seasons. Outside of my work, I also like to organize dinners with people, which gives me the opportunity to cook for a smaller circle and then test more daring recipes. Also, I go every year in residence, notably at the Chateau de la Haute Borde where I am at the moment. This place awakens a lot of creativity in me! It is a moment of pause in my active life where I do more in-depth research. I develop recipes from my childhood, my origins, with the products of their garden. It is a place that I would recommend to everyone without hesitation…
Does intuition play an important part in your process? Or is it something for you that comes more from the mind than from the gut?
I want to say both. My intuition and my thoughts are both linked. When I cook I feel free and I offer what is most personal in me to my guests. Cooking has always been a way for me to express my tenderness and affection to those I receive around my table. My dishes are like intimate thoughts to me.
Any ideas you are looking forward to exploring in the future (new techniques, tools, approaches, etc)?
Yes, I would like to learn more about the nature around me to grow edible flowers on my large terrace. So I’m taking classes in Parisian parks to discover our flora from season to season. I will create a greenhouse and a vegetable garden to be able to cultivate everything during the seasons. Also, I would like to continue to travel to discover new recipes, tools, or ingredients. When I travel I always visit the kitchenware stores because I always discover amazing things that enliven my creativity.
Could you name a few of your favorite artists / makers / creators?
I really like painting as well as poetry. They are two art forms that inspire me a lot. I love many artists but my favorites, that are connected, are Hans Jean Arp and his Swiss wife Sophie Taeuber. Together they wrote poetry, made sculptures, drew and painted surrealist works. His wife worked a lot with sewing, especially with weaving, but also with dance. This variety of artistic mediums must have inspired them to create their works in a ping-pong-like process. The fact that they are united and work together, inspire each other, and develop their art, touches me. The apples of Hans Jean Arp have always been with me… I like to read the book Jours effeuillés which is a masterpiece of his work.
Any current reading / listening / watching recommendations you’d like to share?
After reading this I would recommend you to go to the Chateau de la Haute Borde in Rilly-sur-Loire. Stay there for a few days, disconnect from everyday life, and let yourself be overwhelmed by nature and the kindness of the hosts. Then, as I was telling you, read the book Jours effeuillés by Hans Jean Arp. Leave the trader on the corner of your coffee table. Open it every day to read a poem… look carefully at the drawings and let yourself imagine all the surrealist forms…