Anne-Sophie Pic is the most decorated Michelin starred female chef in the world, currently holding ten Michelin stars across her restaurants - 3 for Maison Pic (Valence, France), 2 for Restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic (Lausanne, Switzerland) and La Dame de Pic in London, and 1 for La Dame de Pic in Paris, Megève (France) and in Singapore. For several generations her family has played an integral part in the history of French cuisine.
When Anne-Sophie Pic thinks of the “art of fusion”, she doesn’t relate it to fusion cuisine. Despite a deep passion for travel and a growing interest in Asian ingredients, with the latter leading to the opening of her first Asian outpost in Singapore in 2019, the 53-year-old French chef doesn’t consider her globally influenced creations anything close to what we think of as fusion food.
“It’s difficult to say what fusion cuisine is,” she muses. “It’s an expression that emerged about 15 years ago, but these days it is not so clear. It implies that there is no specific DNA to the cuisine. But I cook with my French DNA while still being inspired by local ingredients. I’m looking for a combination of flavours in my food — it’s really my first step of any dish."
This flexibility and openness to creative collaboration in the world of gastronomy is what prompted Hublot to bring France’s most decorated female chef into its family of ambassadors, demonstrating how its famous motto can bring together two seemingly disparate worlds.
We both share the values of exploration and boldness. We both push the limits.”
Anne-Sophie Pic on Hublot
In October, Hublot’s celebration of synthesis brought together Pic and fellow Michelin starred chef Yannick Alleno in an exclusive four-handed dinner to commemorate the launch of its Big Bang Unico Gourmet, a 200-piece limited edition watch cased in Damascus steel — a material often used in high-end kitchen knives.
Pic’s penchant for lighter flavours and delicate execution blended beautifully with Yannick’s more experimental, fermentation-driven approach, proving once more that fusion is always possible when philosophies are aligned.
"His cuisine is completely different from mine, but because we come from the same generation, we both opened several restaurants, and we both struggled for our third Michelin star, we share the same thoughts about cuisine and views of the industry… When we were younger, French cuisine was being attacked. People were saying it was getting old and that it needed innovation, so we really worked on that, but in our own ways."
Launch of the Big Bang Unico Gourmet
Hublot's timepiece is made of Damascus steel - the same steel as the finest kitchen knives prized by Michelin-starred chefs: Read Story
For Pic, that meant leaving her family’s restaurant, the three-starred Maison Pic, to forge her own path. She opened her eponymous restaurant in Lausanne, Switzerland, which earned two Michelin stars in 2009, and has retained them ever since. She would continue to open the La Dame de Pic restaurants in Paris, London, Megève, as well as at Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
“We wanted a more casual restaurant. Since we were not ready to revolutionise Maison Pic, we pushed for modernity with La Dame de Pic. It’s difficult to push for change back home because everything is so traditional, but now I think Maison Pic is more modern than it has ever been, and it is La Dame de Pic that allowed for that change.”
Curiosity is at the heart of Pic’s culinary code, as the self-taught chef is always on the hunt for new ingredients. “Humans really are the centre of knowledge. You can read something out of a book, but if you have someone explain how they grow their produce, you learn more about how to cook it, too,” says Pic.
“When I was in Japan I saw a rice harvest for the first time. We don’t have much of a rice culture in France since we usually cook rice as a pilaf. But it’s completely different from the way you do it in Asia. It’s very interesting to share cultures.”
Not having any formal training has also given Pic a freedom to experiment and a hunger to understand various techniques, unbound by the dogma of tradition. When she was still at Maison Pic, a customer once asked for lobster thermidor, a dish she had never been taught before. Terrified of getting it wrong, she called renowned French chef Paul Bocuse for help. “He said to me, ‘My cocotte, don’t be afraid. You know how to make crayfish gratin because it’s your father’s dish. It’s the same for lobster thermidor. The only rule you have to follow is that it has to taste good.’ I have kept that advice in my mind all my life. Rules and recipes are okay, but you cannot forget that your dish has to be balanced, and you have to push yourself and put yourself into what you’re making.”
Seeing as Pic currently holds 10 Michelin stars, one might assume that the pressure of the infamous guide is what keeps the pressure on, but her motivations are intrinsic. “You always want to go further or you’re not happy — you push yourself more than the guide does,” she says. “We have to be confident, but not too sure of ourselves. It is important to change, to be creative, and not be satisfied with our work.”