June 2019 Featured Chef: Vincent Catala

 

Clement Design® is known around the globe in the chef industry. We not only take pride in providing premium quality chef jackets, but also in the chefs who wear our amazing brand. From outfitting executive & pastry chefs to high-end restaurants, resorts & clubs nationwide, we love to see and share success stories from our Clement Design USA chefs and businesses.

Vincent Catala is a French chef from the South of France, with 20 years’ experience in France and abroad. He is both a kitchen and a pastry chef. He excels with balance in these two universes. To achieve this level of excellence, Vincent worked extensively throughout France in well-known French establishments (from 1 to 3 Michelin stars) and traveled the world to continue his training (USA, Canada, Europe, North Africa ...). Vincent is not unknown to the media in France and abroad. He has directed various television programs in France, Morocco and Canada. He has appeared in many French newspapers including the famous Thuriès Magazine.

He inherited his love of gastronomy from his great-grandmother. As a child he often watched her work in the kitchen. She passed on to him her love of cooking and showed him how to elevate his cooking while respecting nature.
Vincent began his career as a cook at the age of 16. He quickly climbed the ranks. His work ethic and dedication earned him several diplomas.
After ten years in kitchen he decided to deepen his knowledge in pastry making and graduated in 2007 as a pastry chef.

True to the country of his birth, The South of France and its Mediterranean cuisine, Vincent never misses an opportunity to recall his roots in his dishes. He is keen to use local and seasonal products. He enjoys bringing a floral touch to his salty and sweet dishes. It is while teaching the cuisine of edible flowers that he was noticed by the number one channel in French television (TF1) to produce a show on French chefs using edible flowers.

For eight years, he took part in the International Festival of Gastronomy through culinary demonstrations and workshops. Naturally, his ongoing personal culinary experience led him to teaching in order to pass on his passion and his skills to as many people as possible. He became pastry and kitchen teacher in Miami in one International French Culinary School during 3 years.

Vincent is an active chef and has been an Ambassador for more than 5 years for Quosentis (a natural extract brand for Gastronomy) as well as for Technobake creating receipts with Panibois wooden baking mold. He is also Chef Ambassador of North America's French Dessert Championship (a competition that has existed since 1974 and rewards the best pastry chefs).

Today, Vincent is totally fulfilled as Executive chef at EverCook where he is come back to his first passion.

Vincent cultivates a taste for excellence, understanding that perfection can never be reached but must remain an objective, just as a compass point one in the right direction.

Its motto : Carpe Diem!

Q1: Your list of edible flowers ranges from violet to mimosa and even the flowers of zucchini. Do you have a favorite you like to work with when creating your molecular gastronomy recipes? How did you first discover and start working with these edible flowers?

A: I do not have a favorite edible flower for crafting my molecular gastronomic recipes as each flower is different. Each flower offers a unique taste and therefore a different use. For example, the Borage, which is a wild flower from the South of France, has a particularly iodized taste that pairs perfectly with foie gras. The Nasturtium has a radish taste that is perfect for enhancing the beauty of a fresh salad or a lobster dish. 

I first discovered edible flowers with my great grandmother LouLou. I loved to watch her cook and go with her in the garden to pick flowers and fresh herbs to perfume and make her dishes more beautiful. I really started cooking with the flowers when I became Sous Chef in Pastry at Bastide Saint Antoine in Grasse (the capital of perfume).

Q2: You are currently working for EverCook - a French Luxury Catering & Personal Chef Service located in Miami-Dade County and the surrounding areas in Florida. Can you recall one of your favorite events you’ve catered and tell us a little more about what made it so special? How do you go about creating the gourmet menu for such events?

AOne of my favorite events is the Musimelange (a true concert experience paired with gastronomy and wine tasting). The organizer of this event, Anne, trusted us with catering and also making the signature cocktail for the event. This allowed us to showcase our French Luxury Catering and Personal Chef Services.Today, we are proud to be the gastronomic partner of this wonderful event.

For menu creation we design everything according to the events and customer wishes. We try as much as possible to incorporate local seasonal products. One important point is that we always put our cocktails in staging by adapting ourselves to the theme or places of the event.

Q3: What means success to you in the culinary world? Have you found any techniques that you’ve fallen in love with but struggle to master? What fundamentals have been vital to your success in the culinary world?

A: Success for me means  that I'm happy with my team, the customers, and the suppliers that I work with on a daily basis. 

Then to be recognized near the other icons and leaders in the industry. Above all, respect is very important to me. The culinary world is quickly evolving and success travels with you. I want to keep that success moving forward.

I've never really fallen in love with a specific technique. I mean, every technique is crazy unique and takes a lot of practice and patience to perfect. If you keep pushing to learn you can definitely succeed. This is my vision, but I'm really involved with the molecular cuisine and the art decorations they do for the World Pastry Championship. For real, the work the chef's produce is unbelievable! 

What I've found to help me the most in my organization is the evolution of my knife skills, and my trained palate. I couldn't have achieved this skills if it wasn't for mentors throughout my career; for that I'm incredibly thankful.

Q4: What are some current trends that are standing out to you in gourmet cuisine and fine dining?

A: For me, what defines the new gastronomic trends is the simplicity and the frankness of the taste, especially the emotion. Today, the chef tries to go back to consuming less and producing less waste while maintaining a high level of quality. All of this is, in a way, returning to the traditional way of cooking. In this ever-changing field you also have to be open to the world of inspiration around you, in my mind this is the future of gourmet cuisine.

Q5: What would you consider to be your signature dish? How has it developed over time? Why do you wear Clement Design!?

A: I think my signature dish now is one I have not created yet. I do not want to limit myself to a single dish or dessert. I prefer to follow my desires and also incorporate the current inspirations I see daily: fashion, art, nature are all influences that help me grow as I continue to learn and perfect everyday.

I may one day find a dish that I want to engrave my story into. To be honest, I think if I had a signature dish, it would evolve everyday. One day a great chef told me "your dish will be perfect the day you remove it from the menu, and replace it with another one".

Since then I've tried to follow that philosophy on a daily basis.

I wear Clement Design because I love the amazing quality. You almost don't feel your jacket while you're wearing it; for professional clothes, they are perfect for me. Also, the design is really trendy and fashionable. They take a more modern approach and actually work with chefs when developing new styles. I love the colors and customization options they offer, which really lets you make a jacket or apron unique to your personality. I honestly can't picture myself wearing any other brand! 

If you want to learn more about Vincent Catala be sure to check him out here. You can also learn more about Evercook by following the link; they have a ton of beautiful pictures from private events and parties they've catered. As always be sure to follow us (@clementdesignusa), and chef Catala (@catalavincent) on Instagram. 

We would like to extend many thanks to Vincent Catala for taking the time to answer our exciting questions as June Featured Chef. We hope you found some inspiration both in his story and through his wonderful answers.  Be sure to check out what Chef Catala has going on lately! You can find some of his great recipes created for Panibois wooden baking molds by following this link or learn how to create beautiful entremets by visiting his recipe page on his personal website (they look absolutely wonderful). 

We hope you enjoyed our Featured Chef Series this month and we are very excited to continue speaking to our Clement Design® chefs in these monthly Q&A's. Drop your thoughts below and be sure to share this talented chef's story!

 

Private Cocktail Party: Kai in the Sky | By Evercook French Luxury Catering & Personal Chef Services