Aurore de Beauduy Chef Vogue Bistro www.voguebistro.com
Phoenix is a long way from the quaint cafes and white-linen world-class dining destinations of Paris -- and you can be sure it was neither a short nor a particularly direct route that led Aurore de Beauduy from the City of Lights to the Valley of the Sun. This is part one of our interview with the chef in which we find out the story behind her journey to Arizona, which has taken her from Chicago to Russia along the way, as she crafted fine dining experiences for everyone from clubbers to Communists. Don't forget to come back tomorrow for part two, when we hear about why she doesn't consider Vogue a "French" restaurant anymore and where she likes to eat out in the city.
The story begins when de Beauduy was 15 years old and living in France. Her family didn't cook much but de Beauduy decided she wanted to make a cake.
"[My mother] said, 'Why when we have beautiful pastry chefs all over Paris?'" de Beauduy says.
But she had been receiving mail ads for cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and decided at that young age that she wanted to attend. She needed a letter of recommendation though, so she went to a local chef to ask for one. Understandably doubtful, he sent her down the street to the patisserie with the promise that if she could survive for five days, she would get her letter. She wasn't excited about working with the flour-covered bakers, but went anyway.
On her first day, the baker assigned her the job of making crepes -- a lot of crepes. And better yet, he made her eat all the ones she messed up. She started off happily snacking her way through the task, though she realized pretty quickly that she better get down to work. She still came home with quite a few.
After five days of crepe making she got her letter and though she was still in school, began learning the nuts and bolts of cookery and cuisine, tools she would certainly need when the real adventures began.
After graduating she stayed in Paris for a while, cooking for her parents and doing what recent graduates usually do.
"And my parents said, 'This is wonderful, but what are you going to do in life?'"
So de Beauduy decided she would set off on her own "tour de France," spending one year learning the cuisine of each of the country's regions. And she didn't just train at any restaurants. De Beauduy was relentless in seeking out only the best restaurants to train in - and it wasn't easy back them for a female to get her foot in the door.
"I said 'I don't care. Every restaurant I worked at hard to be a three-star restaurant,'" she says. "I didn't want to waste my time."
To make that possible she sent out her resume with the name "A. de Beauduy," surprising at least one chef when the new, female stagier showed up for work. On more than one occasion they tried to turn her away or to make her do pastry or put her on chocolate (both of which were seen as more female-appropriate duties). She refused. She worked hard, often being the first one in and the last one out each day, and earned respect from her colleagues as she went.
Five words to describe yourself: Passionate, creative, perfectionist, caring and amicable
When did you know you wanted to be a chef: When I was a child my family frequently entertained at home. Beautifully presented and delicious food was always at the center of everyone's attention. One day our favorite cake wasn't available and I said " Why can't we bake one ourselves?" My first cake turned out to be a great success and I've developed a strong passion for cooking.
One thing most people don't know about you: I like listening to a classical music in my car.
Three things you miss most about Paris: The smell of freshly baked bread in the morning coming from the neighborhood bakery, hot chocolate at Angelina restaurant and Christmas with family.
Favorite childhood food memory: "Five course" picnics with my family in the park.
One thing you want people to know about French cuisine: In French cuisine every dish, no matter how simple, must leave a lasting impression on a diner and all ingredients must complement each other in such way that makes them taste better. French cuisine, at its best, is a true artistic expression in cooking.
The biggest difference between Parisians and Phoenicians: Parisians go out of their way to be under the sun and Phoenicians are doing their best to hide from it.
Your biggest influence or inspiration: I was very fortunate to meet Chef Aimer Fournillier who was one of the greatest chefs and human beings that I've ever met in my life.
Why did you chose to open in Surprise: Surprise is the most rapidly growing town and one of the most diverse and vibrant communities in the West Valley. When we visited Surprise for the first time, it was obvious that there was a void of independently operated and chef driven restaurants that you typically find in the city. However there wasn't a shortage of residents who take dining very seriously and willing to make a trip to Scottsdale in search of gourmet dining experiences. We've found a great match in our customers, many of whom we know personally and who support us on a regular basis.
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The proudest moment you've had in the kitchen: Receiving an award from the Societe de Cuisiniers de Paris for serving a multi-course dinner showcasing all major and gastronomically significant regions of France. Only one person is awarded, once a year, in a competition with numerous participants from the entire country.
Check out our past Chef and Tell interviews with:
Justin Olsen - Bink's Midtown Marco, Jinette, and Edmundo Meraz - Republica Empanada Brian Peterson - Cork Brian Webb - Hey Joe! Filipino Street Food Lester Gonzalez - Cowboy Ciao Renetto-Mario Etsitty - Tertio German Sega - Roka Akor Marco Bianco - Pizzeria Bianco Brad and Kat Moore - Short Leash Hot Dogs and Sit...Stay