It may have debuted at Raffles Hotel more than two years ago, but French restaurant La Dame De Pic is still finding its feet. As early-2020 border controls shut out visitors and locked in residents, the pandemic put paid to owner Anne-Sophie Pic’s best laid plans to understand and capture the spirit of Singapore in her distinctively feminine brand of French cuisine.
A third-generation chef, Pic is considered one of the living masters of French cuisine. She is only one of four female chefs to have earned three Michelin stars which she continues to hold for her eponymous restaurant in her hometown of Valence, in southeast France.
Her grandfather, Andre Pic, opened the family’s restaurant Maison Pic, which her father took over in 1959 and turned into a destination for Nouvelle Cuisine. The restaurant floundered after her father’s death in 1992 and by 1995, had lost its second star.
Pic famously took over the kitchen when her brother Alain decided to leave its helm in 1998 (until then, she had only managed its front of house). By 2007, she had restored Maison Pic’s third Michelin star and charted her way to becoming one of the top chefs in France.
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A TASTE OF ORIGINS
Pic was palpably excited when she spoke to CNA Luxury over the phone on May 5. She had planned to come to Singapore from May 9 to 14 on only her second visit since La Dame De Pic opened in July 2019, but alas, she had to cancel the trip at the last minute because her mother took ill.
Her mission for the visit to Singapore was two-fold: To present a new menu of Valence-inspired dishes that offers diners a clearer window into who she is through her food, and to deepen her knowledge of the natural bounty that Singapore has to offer.
She had even planned visits to horticulturists to learn about Singapore’s native botanicals which she had hoped to use in her menu and even a beer tasting with a local brewer to explore pairing opportunities.
Despite the cancelled trip, diners can still enjoy the new menu, which will run from May 11 to 14, and which will feature Pic family classics such as her signature Berlingots in its original iteration: The silky pasta dough infused with matcha and filled with goat cheese from Alpes-De-Haute-Provence.
It will also debut her Wild Sea Bass & Caviar 2.0, an update on a dish her father created in 1971 which made waves for the very fact that he had anointed a piece of fish with a crown of caviar, revolutionary for the times.
“It took me 20 years to update this dish because it’s very emotional for me since it’s a historical dish from my father,” Pic explained. “So it’s interesting to [be able] to show it to people in Singapore.”
Dishes like these, which lay bare Pic’s roots and personal style, show both diners and her team here where she comes from so that they can then understand the path she intends to take.
It is a path she can focus on and explore more deeply now that borders have opened again.
La Dame De Pic will serve Pic’s Taste Of Valence menu from May 11 to 14. Call +65 6412 1816 or email ladamedepic [at] raffles.com for reservations.