Interview with Jerome Merlo, Chef of the Temple Café

Authors: Go Chengdu

2016-09-11

Reporters had an interview with Jerome Merlo, from France, now a chef of The Temple Café in Chengdu.
The city of Chengdu in recent years has witnessed the remarkable emergence of a growing number of foreign restaurants, due to the city's cultural tolerance and vitality as exemplified by local people's readiness to accept new fashions and new gastronomical experiences.
Reporters (R) of local website gochengdu.cn had an interview with Jerome Merlo (J), from France, now a chef of The Temple Café in Chengdu.
R: Hello, please Say hello to our readers and introduce yourself.
J: Hi. I am a French chef with a professional background of more than 10 years. I was born and grew up in a small town near Bordeaux and Cognac, a place noted for its rich cooking tradition and famous products, such as beef, the seafood and the duck liver.
R: What makes you so passionate about cooking?
J: I come from a family which has its roots on the Reunion Island. I lived in a big family, with many brothers and sisters, and at home there always was a pot on the stove cooking various food. The location of the town makes it possible that we can have all kinds of foods from different countries, and the memory of the tastes in my mind is where my interest in flavors and cuisines took roots. At the age of 15 I entered a professional cooking school, where I learnt the basics of the French Gastronomy and started to consider cooking as a very complex art. It requires the chef to utilize all his senses, and most importantly his heart, to prepare each dish with love and passion.
R: Have you ever tried Chengdu local food? Do you have any favorite dishes?
J: Living in China for 3 years now, I have realized the complexity and richness of the Chinese cuisine. I enjoyed Luobogan (dried raddish slices), twice-cooked pork and Dongpo Zhuozi (sour and sweet braised pork shank). But it is difficult for me to tell what my favorite Chinese dish is, since there are so many dishes that I love so much!
R: What cuisines have the most influence on your cooking?
J: I have traveled to quite many places, the European countries, New Zealand and now China. The work experience makes me think about how to prepare French dishes with an international twist. I have worked in different restaurants of different sizes and styles: the luxury restaurants, the small traditional French Bistro and so on. I am lucky enough to have learned a lot from many talented and passionate chefs, who impressed me with their methods to treat the various ingredients and to cook them and take the best of each of the ingredient to make the best food.
R: How do you comment on the working environment in Chengdu?
J: I feel great here in Chengdu, and I enjoy the relaxed and comfortable life and working environment. I'm excited to be a member of The Temple House, which makes me feel like I were in a big, happy family, working with a team of joyful and energetic professionals.

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