The Dish: Michel Richard Q&A

Irrepressible master chef talks guilty food pleasures, favorite traditions and more.

Michel Richard. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg.

What is the inspiration behind your lobster Begula pasta?

The pearl pasta reminds me of giant caviar. It is fun, and when you eat it the pasta rolls in your mouth. It looks like Beluga caviar but it tastes like a rich lobster risotto.

What is your cooking philosophy?

My cooking philosophy is freshness, and I love texture. I want to make food that is the perfect dance partner to your palate. I want to make beautiful music (sounds of crunching!) in your mouth. When you eat my food, I want you to feel like the chef is in love with you.

In your opinion, what about Washington makes it a food destination?

There is so much variety of cuisines here in Washington, and there are more great chefs cooking here all the time. It is an international menu as well as a celebrity one. New York City watch out!

If you could cook for anyone living or dead, whom would it be?

Alive – with my best friends around the table.

What is your ‘death row’ meal?

Perfect roasted chicken with French fries. A lot of Champagne and Côte du Rhone. Great ice cream for dessert.

Your guilty food pleasure?

Ice cream out of the microwave at midnight. Don’t tell my wife.

What special dish do you plan to make for the holidays?

Turkey with chestnuts and truffles

What holiday tradition do you always observe?

I love Thanksgiving. No gifts, no religion, just friends and family. Everyone can come to my table.

Favorite place in Washington?

Walking in Georgetown, reminds me of Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris. Great Falls is relaxing, I love to feel the water next to me, I go with my little dog Scout. The National Gallery of Art — I am an artist. I love the classics.

Favorite place to shop?

H Mart and Asian markets in the west area. The wharf fish market in Washington and the Farmer’s Market at Dupont Circle.

Favorite place to eat?

Mussel Bar by , Et Voila, CityZen, Cesco in Bethesda, Bizou in Potomac. I miss ’s food.

Favorite way to unwind?

Fishing with my daughter on the Potomac by the Chain Bridge and driving across the key bridge into the District. You can see Georgetown University, National Cathedral, the monuments, the Kennedy Center. It gives me a thrill! So does the Smithsonian’s Julia Child exhibit.

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