It never occurred to a young Claude Troisgros to question what he would be when he grew up. Cooking was in his blood. For three generations, the Troisgros family has provided France with some of its most innovative, most daring, and most renown chefs.
Claude Troisgros’ grandfather Jean-Baptiste created an uproar in culinary circles when he first paired fish with red wine, four decades ago. Jean-Baptiste encouraged his two sons, Jean and Pierre, to break with culinary tradition, and the result of their experimentation has affectionately been termed “La Cuisine Creative Troisgros.”
The unorthodox methods of the Troisgros brothers and their close friend and fellow chef, Paul Bocuse, inspired the Nouvelle Cuisine revolution. Together, Jean and Pierre Troisgros founded the celebrated Troisgros of Roanne and earned the restaurant a Michelin three- star rating for such dishes as salmon seared but still translucent inside, served with a sorrel cream sauce.
Claude Troisgros, born into this family’s unorthodox kitchen, could make a beurre blanc when other children were learning how to read. At age 16, Claude Troisgros took on an apprenticeship with Paul Bocuse; years before, Bocuse had made the 7-year old Claude sign a contract stipulating that his first job would be at Bocuse’s eponymous restaurant.
From there, Troisgros took positions as chef in some of the best kitchens of Paris, London, Dublin, and Munich. When Claude Troisgros was still in his early twenties and back in Roanne, his father walked into the kitchen and asked “does anyone want to go to Rio?” Claude Troisgros jumped at the opportunity to travel to Brazil and work for Gaston Lenotre at his restaurant Pre Catelan in Rio de Janeiro.
Troisgros became enamored with Brazil’s tropical flavors and climate, and remained there for fifteen years, opening his first solo restaurant, Roanne, as a showcase for his new aptitude for Brazil’s unique fruits, vegetables, quality beef, and exceptional seafood.
Claude Troisgros only recently left Brazil to open C. T. in New York City, still maintaining his original, experimental approach to food that he seems to have in his veins. The four-star C. T. melds the impeccable Troisgros culinary heritage with Claude’s fearless sense of adventure, resulting in such dishes as Pigeon Urucum — roasted squab with truffle risotto and achiote, and Poire, Poires, Poivre — a pear sorbet with oven-dried Asian pear, pear syrup, and Jamaican pepper.
His combinations of flavors are as clever as the names that he gives to his dishes. “I like to combine three types of ingredients,” he says, “something acid, something crispy, and something green.”
His Foie Gras Jicama, warm foie gras with caramelized jicama and cinnamon star anise sauce accomplishes all three goals. It is a fitting tribute to the third generation of Troisgros family genius.