WOMEN OF NOTE:
Laszlo Badet | Chef
A seamstress for over a decade at the luxury Chanel Haute Couture house, and passionate chef, Laszlo Badet creates visual feasts with a charm that intersects fluidly throughout her creative outlets. Based in Paris, Laszlo often escapes to the countryside, sometimes as a guest chef catering for artists and other times for leisure and time in the sun. Finding her joy in cooking, Laszlo utilises the abundance of fresh ingredients from markets across France, cooking to suit the season. Often setting the table for friends and family, Laszlo's food experience expands beyond the meal she creates. Her eye for design and creativity is pronounced through each sitting, dressed in the detail she applies to Chanel Haute Couture with foraged florals in delicate detail and glimmers of French heritage. Each plate boasts a sweet richness and indulgence that feels like comfort and a life well enjoyed.
We spoke to Laszlo while on vacation in the French countryside, dressed in our Deiji sleep dress while sharing her favourite meals for the seasons.
Location: I'm on vacation in France at Le Château de la Haute Borde, my principal residence is in Paris 20th at Belleville
Date: 13th September 2021
Time: 10.30 am
Where are you from and where are you now?
I am from Switzerland. I grew up on the shores of Lake Leman in the Vaudois countryside. A very beautiful region which is now a UNESCO heritage site.
What is your favourite time of day?
My favourite time of the day is when I have my first coffee or when I meet my friends, my lover and we enjoy a glass of wine in the evening.
What is the view like from your home?
My view from my home is my little Parisian garden close to a beautiful old close Church. I can see my cat in the garden and my old neighbour takes care of all the flowers. This is a quiet private place in a big city.
You are a chef based in Paris who creates feasts of edible art. Where did your culinary passion begin?
Probably from an early age, in the heart of my big family. I always helped my mom to prepare our meals. We had a large table where we often received our family or friends. When I finished my schooling, I was too young to leave the countryside where I lived and worked in a professional kitchen as a cook. So, I studied in a « haute couture school » in Lausanne. A magnificent school which allowed me to enter the famous Chanel house and work there for more than ten years. I really like my job, but I don't feel as creative about it as I do in the kitchen. So I continue to cook as much as I can and now I think about leaving my job as seamstress and definitely only cook every day! Little by little I am working for great occasions. I am trusted and it brings me success! I hope it will continue like this.
You cook with an abundance of vibrant ingredients, foraged florals and rich cheeses, butters and bread. What is your approach to choosing ingredients, and what are your favourite ingredients to cook with?
Above all, I like to prioritize the quality of my ingredients by relying on their season and their origin. My way of cooking is inspired by the Italian way of cooking. Not in the ingredients but rather in the way of working your dish. These are rich ingredients, adapted to the taste of the seasons and products with barely modified flavours. My recipes are easy to make, you can easily adapt them with different ingredients. My favourite ingredient changes every season or during every trip. Last year was the “Bottarga” from Sardegna. Now this is the seed of fennel from Nord Italy, one time it was the “puffed buckwheat” from Brittany. The future number one is probably the “grebon” from Switzerland. These are small pieces of dried pork fat. You can put them in a puff pastry with salt. This is incredible!
You are an inspiring creative using ingredients as your medium. What does food mean to you?
What does your creative process look like?
I like to create without thinking too much about it. My best way of creating recipes is to go to the market, discovering good seasonal fruits and vegetables. Taste new dishes while traveling. Mix my family recipes, the ways of cooking, my origins of flavours. I never throw away small food, I keep everything in jars. I season with whatever I have on hand from my garden. I have some wonderful old cookbooks at home that inspire me a lot for the presentation of my dishes. I also love to go to flea markets to find beautiful dishes, beautiful plates which also inspires me a lot.
What places influence your cooking?
Our different places of life or the places where we travel with my companion. There is also all the equipment in the kitchens of these different places that inspires me. I don't think much about what I'm going to cook. I'm pretty spontaneous. I take pleasure in creating as it comes to mind. I create my dishes in functions of the number of people, the arrangement of the table, one, two, three tables or the time of day. My recipes fit into the space where we will taste them.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt?
Sharing and to be generous. I grew up in a family with three children. I was in the middle so I was and I am still the big sister as the littler sister. So being here for everyone you love is my life lesson.
What foods do you find comfort in?
To be completely transparent, by comfort food, I understand the meaning of a simple dish, comforting and easy to make... which for me resonates because the comfort is very pleasant to me when I do not cook as in my daily life. So usually this is when I am alone at home in the evening... My most comfort food is a carrot salad with lemon juice and sesame oil.. usually I add seed and feta. That’s easy, so good for the skin and the eyes, good for my mind, so really comforting for me who takes care of my body.
What is your favourite thing to eat?
An Apple with a slice of old cheese from my mother in Switzerland.
What do you cook when you don’t have much time?
When I don't have time to cook, I unpack the good cheeses from the market, I open one of my many jars of pickles, a nice slice of bread with salted butter. Voilà.
Is there a particular meal you often turn to?
That depends on the season
When you have downtime, where do you spend it?
In nature, in a park, in the forest, by a lake... How much I love to go for a walk and come back with a large bouquet of flowers or branches. I picked beautiful branches of small apples, blackberries and ivy when I came back from my grandparents in Brittany.
How do you prepare for a good night’s rest?
Before going to bed I turn on dim lights, tidy up my apartment for things used during the day. I open my bedroom windows, during this time I take care of myself. I like to shower at night before going to bed. I apply cream to my face and I massage myself with an essential oil base with different parts of the body; back, elbows, legs (a mixture of lavender, thyme, mint, eucalyptus). I comb my hair, braid it so it doesn't get tangled at night, and I plunge into bed. With my cat under one arm, I think about upcoming projects, how to organize my tomorrow without tension, and I fall asleep peacefully.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?
I am reading a book that I received from a friend on my birthday. This is “contes or tales in English” from Andersen... for me, the most beautiful tales named “Le Lin or flax in English” are so beautiful.. This is the story of a strand of flax used endlessly which each time realizes how useful it is and how well it highlights its properties.
This is a beautiful way of seeing life.
Where is your favourite place in the world to be?
I spent a wonderful summer in Italy in San Fruttuoso at the edge of a small creek... in the cinque terre. A place that makes you realise you want to go back every summer with your romantic partner. The weather was good, I cooked Italian products, the sea was beautiful and warm.
How do you stay grounded?
From my young age, my dad taught me how to look after myself and take care of myself without having to ask anyone. I had a childhood very rich in creativity and love. Even though I grew up surrounded by brothers and sisters, I knew from an early age how to empower myself to achieve my dreams while listening to my world.
What are you hopeful for?
To be better every day to make all my dreams come true. Share and offer love and friendship.
What do you dream of when sleeping?
During the night I dream about a lot of things related to the next day. I really enjoy it because it is a time when I am very creative and where I have the greatest happiness to remember it the next day.
Do you have a recipe you can share with us?
Yes, this weekend I was at “le Château de la Haute Borde”. A beautiful place where I had the luck to be chef during one week for the clients and the artists in residence last spring. This is a really specific place where I love to be. I cooked a nice pie with all the fruit I found in the market “figs, plums and peaches”.
I made a shortcrust pastry with muscovado sugar. It was delicious with the braiding of pastry all around. Crispy and tender.
A beautiful pie to celebrate the end of summer.