On the Line: Pascal Gimenez of Cafe Beau Soleil, Part Two
Photo by LP Hastings
As much as our conversation is driven by a commonality of food, the most telling moments were when Pascal elaborated on his childhood and the love he has for his daughter. While a culinary career can take over your life, having someone to care for truly changes one's focus and
reason for being raison d'etre.
Learn more about Pascal's food-related lifestyle here. Then get to know him better by reading below. . .
How was participating in the Del Mar Mud Run? Tiring, but fun. And it was great to be with good friends.
You have a whole day to yourself; what do you do? Running, watching a movie, cleaning. Nothing really. Existing, eating . . .
Tell us about your daughter, and what it's like raising her. Frankly, I don't know by which way to start. I will say my Anais has brought so much perspective to what is really important in life. Ultimately, she reminded me of what we seemed to have all forgot: That only love matters. Every moment is a new set of emotions filled with joy and love.
Where did you grow up, and where is home these days? Loire Valley and Paris. Home is in Irvine.
Favorite childhood memory. Picking mushrooms and catching frogs [Editor's Note: Pascal was pretty adept in catching them, often collecting upwards of 100 with his brother in a single day].
Hardest lesson you've learned: Nothing is as it appears to be.
We saw you studied physics in school. What changed your mind? After my bachelor's (degree), I tried Modern Literature. It didn't work out too well. I had to work, so I started to work in the industry as a server. I rapidly moved up to be manager. I started to work in the kitchen only a few years ago.
Do you have any skills that are not food-related? I'm a fairly good ping pong player. As a kid, I played in a club for many years.
Last book read or movie watched; how was it? Auguste Escoffier's Souvenirs Culinaires. It was great to read his memories, menus and recipes. It was also interesting to know that at the age of 13 years old, Escoffier was told he would be a cook.
What would you be if you weren't in this business? A sailor. There's an author named Blaise Cendrars, who wrote a story called Bourlinger about a boy who traveled in a boat. Growing up, I went sailing during vacations or while away at summer camp. I've also taken classes at Orange Coast College.
What turns you on-- creatively, or emotionally? Being in the Indre and Loire forests, taking long walks in the woods. I just came back from the Loire Valley in France. I walked for hours by myself, and the best part was finding mushrooms: porcini, girolle, hedgehog, chanterelle. But I could not find black trumpets-- one of my favorites!
Is there anything you'd like readers to know that we haven't asked? I'd like them to know why I'm so passionate about the food industry. I love to see people's facial expressions when they're eating a dish. I remember the first time I ate a sea urchin as a little boy, how many emotions were going through my mind. Sometimes I wish I had the superpower to find out what customers haven't tried, so I could serve it to them. That way, they could experience an emotion similar to when I first tried sea urchin.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.