The Perfect Pairing With Chef Jean-François Piège

When Rémy Martin decided to partner with Chef Jean-François Piège to pursue the ultimate sensory experience, together they knew it would be the perfect match. Curating a series of ingenious pairings that showcase the aromatic elegance of the spirit of cognac, this two-star chef awakened the exceptional essence of Rémy Martin XO, Rémy Martin Club and Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal. Discovering a new culinary art where cognac comes alive with the dish rather than in the dish, Piège through the depths of over 15 years of craftsmanship, realized a new gastronomic fashion.

In honor of premiering this refined partnership, Rémy Martin collaborated with Danielle Chang’s LUCKYRICE Night Market of the Future to host an exclusive Rémy XO Lounge hosted by Piège himself. Featuring a live tasting experience at the SLS South Beach with specially-crafted dishes from his Paris-based Le Grand Restaurant paired with Rémy Martin XO cocktails, guests were given the opportunity to explore Piège’s harmonious vision.

Haute Living sat down with Chef Piège to hear more about this inspiring collaboration, his recommendations for holiday pairings and what he envisions for the future.

Chef Jean-François Piège Partners With Rémy Martin
Chef Jean-François Piège Premieres Harmonious Partnership With Rémy Martin

Photo Credit: Rémy Martin Cognac

HAUTE LIVING: Chef Piège, amid collaborating with Rémy Martin to pursue a quest for the ultimate sensory experience, tell us how your journey into the culinary arena began?

JEAN-FRANÇOIS PIÈGE: It was natural to me. I always thought about cooking. I was imagining it. It started when I was young and it never left me. Even before starting to learn how to cook, I already knew how to cook.

HL: Curating a series of innovative pairings using the Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal, Rémy Martin XO and Rémy Martin Club, you awakened an aromatic elegance never seen before in gastronomic culture. What inspired this beautiful partnership?

JFP: The quintessence of hospitality is pairing food with spirits. For the chef, the perfect way to combine this is to bring together excellent food with excellent alcohol. Hospitality is very unique. And in France, it’s what we eat and what we drink.  It’s also the marriage between food and spirits that are the essence of the meal.

HL: As we celebrate the holiday season, what are your recommendations for seasonal pairings?

JFP: A glass of Rémy Martin XO and my signature dessert, Blanc À Manger, which is a vanilla floating island. What we worked on through this partnership is that you don’t have to drink cognac only at the end of the meal as a digestif. That was before.  We wanted to break away from this type of thinking. You can have it before as a cocktail or even pair it with very good meat, very good fish or a dessert. Blanc À Manger, my signature dish that I’ve been making for 15 years, was first associated with spirits when I started working on it. But when I paired it with Rémy Martin XO, it was a revelation.

Chef Jean-François Piège Partners With Rémy Martin
Chef Jean-François Piège Premieres Harmonious Partnership With Rémy Martin

Photo Credit: Rémy Martin Cognac

HL: When did this revelation take place?

JFP: When the partnership began several months ago and when I was working with the cellar master. We were working on how to pair different dishes with the cognac. That’s when it happened. Usually, it’s not something that I do. I don’t pair desserts with cognac, but when we decided to do this pairing, for me, it was the last and most beautiful pairing I discovered.  

HL: And what can you tell us about the additional pairings?

JFP: In this partnership, we created 12 pairings using Rémy Martin XO, Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal—which is sold in the United States—and Rémy Martin Club, which is sold in Asia. I realized that vegetarian dishes paired very well with cognac and we’re also serving a tendon of meat. I saw that with the 1738 pairing, it really brings out the essence in the pairing and the product. The meat, for example, is cooked on chestnuts, making it the perfect pairing.

Chefs usually use cognac inside the cooking, but I chose to replace where the cognac should be and should always have been—which is with the dishes, not in the dishes. Fashion now is to do pairings with tea, sake or other drinks. And the new fashion is to pair with cognac.

HL: Collaborating with Danielle Chang and her coveted Lucky Rice Night Market, what narrative were you looking to portray through both your wild calamari carbonara and beef tendon tartare with pickled gelee?

JFP: I worked on taste and pleasure and how to bring taste to life. For me, cognac is pleasure. So this is really what we wanted to infuse in the cooking. A beautiful dinner for me is to have good people, good food and good spirits.

Chef Jean-François Piège Partners With Rémy Martin
Chef Jean-François Piège Premieres Harmonious Partnership With Rémy Martin

Photo Credit: Rémy Martin Cognac

HL: How did these emblematic dishes come to fruition?

JFP: I was inspired by the Rémy Martin spirits and then I elaborated around that context.

HL: As a two-star Michelin chef, what projects are you currently working on that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

JFP: To continue with Rémy Martin and to communicate the fact that cognac is one of the best pairings possible. Whether it be pairings in the states or elsewhere—that’s the main message that we want to portray.