Saucisson Sec d'Auvergne
Harissa Pimento Paste
Petit Pont L'eveque cheese
French Whole Grain Mustard
He began cooking at the age of 13 in Moulins, a small town in France's gourmet capital of Bourbonnais, and Pascal Oudin learned those early lessons well. He now puts them to use as chef/owner of 55-seat Pascal's on Ponce in Coral Gables, FL, which serves the top-rated French food in South Florida. He was chosen "Best Apprentice Chef in France" at age 17 and worked under Alain Ducasse and Roger Verge before coming to the U.S. in 1982 for a job with Jean-Louis Palladin. "Pascal's is that rare thing in the Miami area: a restaurant empty of pretension and full of good taste," said John Mariani in Esquire when he chose it "Restaurant of the Year for 2000."
This fridge is packed.
We have two kids, and they are always here for breakfast and dinner. My wife, Ann-Louise, cooks for them.
So you're out of the loop?
I'm always gone during the week. I leave before 8 a.m. and work at the restaurant until we close at about 11 p.m.
You put in those hours every day?
Monday to Friday, yes. There's no lunch on Saturday, so I go in later. Sundays, I'm off.
You have an ambitious schedule.
Six days is pretty rough, but being a chef/owner of a French restaurant was always my goal.
So the reality is less than the dream?
Well, it's just the life you have as a chef/owner. You want it, and then you have it.
Sounds like you've got no time to eat during the day.
Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I eat breakfast in the car.
Hey, join the club. What's on your drive time menu?
Some fruit, toast, my coffee. I live 15 miles from the restaurant, and the traffic is so bad in the morning that it takes me more than one hour.
That's a nasty commute.
It's only 20 minutes at night.
At least you have an off-season.
Not us. South Beach, yes, but we're in a residential area. I have locals who come two or three times a week all year long.
So do your wife and kids ever see you?
We spend Sundays together if they aren't out at the ranch.
Wait. A chef in Florida with a ranch?
My daughter Nathalie, she's 17, shows Paso Fino horses at the national level.
Paso Finos are those smooth-riding gaited horses, right?
They are. My wife and I bought a 20-stall ranch nearby as an investment. The horse is there.
Your family has a lot going on.
We try to have Sunday breakfast together. The kids— Simon, my son, is 12—don't really see me all week.
You make the meal?
Yes, I just make the kind of breakfast we grew up with. Eggs and bacon, pancakes, French toast, sometimes crepes.
So these Eggo waffles and frozen pancakes in your freezer...?
The kids eat those during the week.
You dine out much as a family?
We used to. Now, after we bought the restaurant four years ago, there's no time.
Think you'll ever slow down?
Sometimes I say to my wife that we should go somewhere and just be cowboys.
Why not? You already have the ranch.