In an interview with Christian Gadient, Head Chef of Michelin-starred Marchal in Copenhagen’s Hotel d’Angleterre, we discussed his philosophy and approach to food, inspiration and passion, signature dishes, and more.
Tell me a little bit about your philosophy and approach to cuisine at Marchal.
We are a crossover of new Nordic and French cuisine at Marchal, but I don’t want to put myself in a box. I’m very spontaneous and I have a very free-flowing mind, still redefining my philosophy, but I think I will always do that because cooking is a constant movement. I also want to develop myself constantly, and I cannot stand still in one spot. To bring it together: progress and spontaneity define my philosophy.
What motivated you to explore a culinary career, and where do you source your inspiration from?
My whole family works in this industry. I was playing with toys in the kitchen when I was 3 years old, and by the age of 8 I was plating on the pass next to my father. That was the start, and that is my backbone. Then of course all the other great chefs and mentors I worked for gave me more passion and drive. One particular person gave me amazing motivation to go to the next level, and his name is Roger Olsson. He still pushes me forward.
I go out in the forest or on the beach at least once a week, particular in the early mornings, when everything’s starts to wake up. I get so inspired from the natural things that surround me. My head starts to work and I get really creative and come up with a lot of new dishes and ideas. I love to pick and see where the thing grows. Touch, smell and taste the food, that’s the center of my inspiration.
What are some of the signature dishes at Marchal of your own creation?
Definitely the lobster servings. They sell like crazy. A whole lobster is served in two servings, first you get the lobster claws served with pickled butternut squash and lemon verbena leaves. The sauce is a lobster bisque with Polynesian vanilla and lobster butter. The second serving is the fried lobster tail with charred spring onions, shells of the spring onions, parsley puree, saffron sauce, and on the side we serve a herb bouquet for when you finished the dish, you clean the last pieces up on the plate.
Another dish is cucumbers with mussels, it combines new and old for me. It reminds me of my last head chef, the years I spent with him and my new approach to creating a dish. That dish definitely has a lot of memories for me and of course, it sells good too.
Another new dish is coming up very fast. We have been serving it for a few weeks now and people seem to love it. I guess that will be my seasonal signature dish. It’s fried green asparagus, brushed with burned eggplant puree, pickled baby cucumbers, nettle oil, smoked bone marrow emulsion, and herbs that I forage myself once a week.
Some of the best restaurants in the world are found in Denmark. What do you believe separates Denmark from other culinary destinations?
Their approach to things: raw, fresh, natural, pure, light, taste, simple. You get nature on your plate and the only thing you can do is to enjoy every bite you take. That’s what I felt when I arrived here. It blew me away and I can’t get enough of it. So is the lifestyle here. It is very addictive.
For guests looking to experience the best of Marchal, what kind of menu might you recommend?
You come in, and the host will bring you to your table, then the waiter comes and pours you a glass of champagne and asks if you want to see the menu card. My advice is you say no, shocking the waiter, and say Christian will choose for me. I will then begin a culinary journey for you to experience.