Montgomery Magazine February/March 2017 : Page 30

Profile Yannick Cam Top CHEF Yannick Cam has worked his way into the cream of the chef-dom world, and now he has a thing or two to say about contemporary cooks and modern fine dining. By Michael Williams // Photography by Bill Kamenjar hese days popular culture is inundated with Cam plies his trade from a relatively small kitchen and celebrity chefs – on television, on dining room that seats about 60 people. bookshelves, on the Internet. The species is When he emerges after a night’s service, the first thing especially prevalent in the Washington, D.C., you notice is the energy. He is nearing the end of a 15-area. They have signature dishes and signature phrases, hour day and is still as frisky as a colt, all smiles and and some are enormously famous even though they enthusiastic handshakes. It is the demeanor of a man who haven’t seen the business end of a spatula for years. “It’s more about gimmicks. Sorbet of potatoes…who wants to eat that? But once upon a time, there were chefs who were more notable for their culinary Sometimes restaurants spend more time on the production than the food. genius than their penchant for self-promotion. In that respect, Yannick Cam is It looks interesting but the taste is a real disappointment.” an original. While his name is not as well known in the popular consciousness as many less significant chefs, has spent his entire life practicing hospitality. Rather than he is known to true lovers and practitioners of fine dining. draining him, service energizes him. He launches into As the acknowledged father of Nouvelle Cuisine, Cam is conversations as though you have known each other for in the pantheon of the all-time greats. After three decades years, dropping jokes and anecdotes punctuated by a in the Washington, D.C., area, Cam both lives and works warm smile and twinkling eyes. He is not large but he is in Montgomery County. powerfully built, moving about the room with the grace of Bistro Provence in Bethesda is his cozy enclave where an athlete. In his white chef’s jacket, matching sweep of he serves what could be described as French comfort food. white hair and the unmistakably French accent, Yannick T 28 // February/March 2017

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