In a time when Romanians migrate to different countries, foreigners migrate to ours. Romanians have always been curious about them and always have wondered why people from countries like France, UK and the US move here. Often the reason is that people are friendly and Romania is just an amazing, beautiful place.
One Frenchman who decided to make Romania his home is Marc Alexandre. Marc Alexandre was born in the Picardie region, France. He comes from a region rich in agriculture, a region where famous personalities such as Racine, La Fontaine, Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne have lived. A place perfect for creative people.
The Frenchman is a very active and curious person and is always involved in a project. He graduated with an engineering degree, he is a licenced helicopter pilot and most of his life he has been an entrepreneur. However, he was always in love with cooking and has always been very creative. After experimenting and dazzling everyone around him with his delicious and mouthwatering recipes, he decided to put them in a book.
His book ” French cooking with Romanian ingredients” represents a mixture of French recipes and personal recipes which are adapted to ingredients from Romania, recipes with wild plants and mushrooms that Marc discovered in the area, as well as a beginner guide to culinary design ( because we first eat with our eyes). The book is written in Romanian and it was created for anyone interested in cooking something new and delicious with Romanian ingredients.
But what does the Frenchman think about cooking and what does he think about Romania? We asked him 23 fast questions and he gave us 23 short answers.
1.How did you find your passion for cooking?
From my grandparents, from my childhood. Every Sunday when we went to the butchers, then to the bakery and then we cleaned the potatoes on a table in the kitchen.
Roast beef with mash potatoes.
3. How do you decide which ingredient to use in your recipe?
I use what I have in the fridge and what I find in my travels, such as wild plants and mushrooms. I imagine the flavours when combining dfferent ingredients, such as combining a certain ingredient with another one.
4. Can you tell me your most creative recipe?
Chanterelle mushrooms tartar with lemons.
5. Are there certain ingredients that you always have in your kitchen?
Yes, seasalt( non iodised), pepper, thyme, sage and bay leaves.
6. Is there an ingredient that you would never use?
Cinamon and beef tongue.
7. What do you like in Romanian cuisine?
I really like Romanian cuisine, but I would prefer they used less oil in cooking.
8.What’s your favourite Romanian dish?
I like tripe soup, stuffed cabage leaves ( called sarmale) and minced meat rolls( called mici and fried on barbecue)
9. What do you find most difficult thing to cook?
I find it hard to bake or create desserts.
10. Have you ever cooked a Romanian recipe?
Yes! See the lamb haggis photo!
11. I know that you like to walk around through the forests looking for wild mushrooms. What would you recommend to a beginner that wants to start mushroom foraging?
I would recommend him to be humble and to forage with someone who is experimented and knows mushrooms.
12. What’s your opinion on life in Romania versus life in France?
I feel more free here, life is more risky, I feel more alive.
Well, if you compare to my area in France, where we are champions in using fertilizers and we have the highest usage of pesticides in the world, but also we have a record in productivity, I think Romania is much more natural.
13. Your book is a fusion between Romanian cuisine and French cuisine. What does that mean for you?
At the moment I belong to two countries and this means I am mixing my own taste in food from my native country with Romanian cuisine.
14. Have you ever thought about opening a restaurant or a bistro?
No, I would prefer to not do that because I hate doing the same thing every day. I prefer to organise culinary events, workshops or consultancy.
15. Do you have a beloved recipe that you would recommend with all your heart?
Yes, the quince duck.
16. Do you have a favourite chef?
Alain Passard. He is a three Micheline star chef. He has exceptional ideas and every food he cooks seems so simple and so ingenious and so creative! See for example the video.
17. Do you have a favourite restaurant?
Not really, maybe the one next go Cluj bistro Tamas at Savadisla.
18. Can you tell me if you have ever had an unusual culinary experience?
I ate pork skin ( called soric). We do not eat that in my country.
20. What is your advice for a beginner in cooking?
He or she should think about how to combine ingredients to obtain certain flavours.
21. Have you ever thought of going to Masterchef?
No, because I do not like to fit in a certain model.
22. Which famous chef would you love to cook with?
I would love to cook with Alain Passard. I love his style, he is close to nature, he respects ingredients.
23. What is your cullinary dream?
Any cullinary experience interests me. I am very open to anything.
Photos provided by Marc Alexandre
You can order the book at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Marc’s culinary travels on his Facebook page : Savage Cooking
Get the e-book on Amazon here