Did Thibaut take part in Top chef or at a Parc Astérix attraction? His career in the M6 competition turned into a real roller coaster over the weeks, he who packed his bags for the first time, returned to the competition, then was eliminated again. In the eleventh episode, the chef crowned with a green star failed to convince the jury with his mackerel. “The cooking in my restaurants is not done on the go in an hour, it’s not quite my style. It was at this level that I was weaker than the others,” he explains to 20 minutes.
What was your reaction when the production asked you to come back to the competition?
It was a few days after my elimination so I was preparing myself psychologically to return to my professional life and my family life. The production called me to tell me that I had been chosen by the chefs to participate in the return of the eliminated. It’s extremely touching because there were seven outgoing candidates before me. I wanted to honor this chance by entering the competition.
You re-enter the game as a lone candidate. Does this status change anything compared to working in a brigade?
I don’t know if that makes a big difference. I’m actually on my own but the chefs come to see me, there are still little tips, we’re not the ugly duckling. Finally, we are not alone, there is support between candidates, it was not as difficult as it might seem.
How did you feel during the last chance tasting?
I basically screwed up my last three chances… I think I have a kitchen that needs to take your time. Cooking in my restaurants is not done on the go in an hour, it’s not quite my style. It was at this level that I was weaker than the others. The tastes were good but I left in too much once again. I wanted to put one fish per person on the plate so I emptied six fish while Lilian put one bite per person, it’s a huge time saver. In the allotted time, there are the ten minutes that we spend in the pantry and the ten minutes of dressing. In itself, there are forty minutes left. I didn’t have the sense to take a bite when Lilian had it.
You weren’t allowed to participate in the black box, is that a regret?
No, it’s not a regret because I could do it with friends blindfolded. In fact, I was honored to inaugurate Philippe Etchebest’s restaurant, we were the first people in the world to set foot there. It was still under construction, we ate an incredible dish. Plus, we were in Bordeaux for a day and it was great. The black box is a mythical test of the show but compared to what we experienced in Bordeaux, I am very happy.
Hélène Darroze underlines your “exceptional personality with a lot of generosity and a lot of technique. ” It’s not nothing !
Whether from his mouth or that of a passer-by, it’s always touching. I’m glad he liked my cooking. His words boost me and comfort me in my own ideas. I have the kitchen that I have, I’m happy that it can appeal to people.
She also tells you that you still have “a little trick to understand to be on top of the top”. Did you understand what it was about?
This is a subject I was working on before participating in Top chef. I wanted to bring together tastes and centralize elements. We try to simplify the dishes that I take out at the restaurant, I try to review a lot of things. I am very open to comments and my cuisine has always evolved on a daily basis. Top chef was a step in my development, it answered questions I was asking myself. But the most important thing for me is to listen to my customers.
At the end of your speech, you say that Top chef is like a “bubble of happiness”…
You really have to feel it to understand it. On a daily basis, I start my day at 8 a.m. and end it at 2 or 3 a.m. I work a lot, I love what I do, I’m passionate. But there, we take a break and we find ourselves with fourteen new friends passionate about the same things. We live together, we cook together. It’s something where everything is beautiful, everything is wonderful. There are also trying and emotionally difficult moments but it’s so strong that it’s a little bubble of happiness. It is a moment of pause in life.
Was being the only candidate with a green star a pressure?
The green star rewards ethical commitments. My cooking is what it is, my commitments are very strong. Talking about it on the show sends a very important message to me. I was lucky enough to have the green star the year it was created, so it’s a real honor. It’s not a pressure but something I wear with pride. It is important that restaurateurs continue to be aware of the capacity we have to change things. I was delighted to be able to talk about ecology on television, to highlight my commitments. Having the green star allowed me to talk about this in Top chef.
What are your projects ?
Anona opened in 2019. Then, upon exiting Top chef, I opened Starving Club, a 100% homemade street football restaurant with local seasonal products. I applied my green star commitments to a more accessible restaurant. It was an ongoing project during filming that I worked on in the evening after the tests. And this summer, I am signing the Fabula menu, the ephemeral restaurant at the Carnavalet museum. It is a nocturnal terrace that opens from May 6 until October.