Here's why Mickaël Besse is using vintage record players in the kitchen
Mickaël Besse has introduced vintage record players in the Ecstacy kitchen. No, not for soft jazz to calm the nerves during rush hour. But actually, to provide a rotating base for piping on the cream!
“You keep your wrist steady and poised and just hold still. Voila,” he demonstrates mid-air.
In his eleventh year consulting for SPI Cinemas (recently sold to PVR Cinemas), the French chef is nowhere short of inspiration. “I have a different concept each year, and truth be told, it is not easy,” confided Besse, who was in Chennai recently, on his annual visit, to roll in the new. But he catches us by surprise a minute later when he adds, “Back home in Neufchâteau (North East France), I’ve built a kitchen for my experiments exclusively for SPI Cinemas.”As the story goes, this was the result of a conversation with CEO Kiran Reddy.
Besse recalls, “I told him that I was finding it difficult to make my usual three trips a year to Chennai.” Reddy’s response (as told to us by Besse): “Then we’ll bring our team to you.”
After Smoked Vanilla extraordinaire last year, we’re tipping over our seats in curiosity to what’s in store on the menu —that has been in the works for past two months — before it hits Ecstasy’s dessert showcase in September. Anticipating this, the chef has a plate with a two-part sampler ready and waiting. The first dessert that easily resembles a work of art with all the intricate detailing including ‘glittering ruby dust crumble’ is the Lunar Éclair. Piped with white chocolate — nougat cream on the inside and embellished with a gradient of textures — white meringue, brookie bits, chocolate coated rice crispies and the aforementioned crumble, it’s a real beauty. And we need to take a moment to summon our senses to be fully present before we take that first bite.
Fatherhood & coffee popcorn
It is sweet, playful and packed with texture. We’re in lunar love. “My daughter’s name is Louna,” says the chef. Now 10 years old, it is interesting to note that she was born in Chennai, shortly after Ecstasy opened shop back in 2007. “She can’t make desserts just yet,” he says with a laugh,“but we cook together at least twice a week.” By this point, we’ve already deep dived into dessert number two which is on their new and original 100% section on the menu. “The 100% section showcases desserts, with a single ingredient in many ways,” says Besse. Take the 100% coffee for instance — prepared with burned white coffee cream, milky coffee cream and topped with caramelised puffed coffee popcorn. The flavours are intense, smooth and decadent. We can’t wait to try variations like the 100% fiesta of nuts or dark chocolate.
In his suitcase
It’s no secret that when Mickaël Besse is on the move, he packs more edible luggage than shirts. “My limit was 23 kgs this time and about half of that went on ingredients from France,” he shares. Here are just a handful of the curious ingredients he brought along:
• Chou chou • Nougat paste • Lemon skin candy
Furniture & flair
With 18 new options to choose from on the new menu (a range of éclairs, tartlets and macarons), perhaps the most hush hush of the lot is the Blind Date Cake. “It’s mono-color and we’ll change the flavour every two weeks,” offers the chef with an air of mystery. The element of surprises seem to be part of the package with Mickaël Besse. “I’ve been managing my dad’s furniture business — catering to five-star hotels and the shift of perspective helps me get more creative with desserts in progress,” he says.
As for what his own sweet tooth craves at the end of a meal, he says with a smile, “I usually go for a slice of camembert and coffee.” It turns out Besse’s standards have risen far too high over the years to be satiated with slice of cake. He says, “I only eat a dessert if I find it interesting.”
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