This week we’re writing about Philippine Darblay, a talented modern lady who has built her career around her passions – gastronomy, travel, communication and innovation.
From working with renown chef René Redzepi, to hosting a food market chronicle on French TV. From communicating for hoteliers and chefs to carrying consulting projects in the food and beverage industry… Philippine has many facets!
Could you explain what you do in a few words?
I do communications for Relais & Chateaux, an association of hotels & restaurants present in more than 60 countries across the world. My job is to communicate about the work of these hoteliers & chefs that are highly involved in protecting the know-hows of their industries (Cf. the Vision, manifesto resented in front of the UNESCO in 2014). Besides I host a food market chronicle for a TV show call Très Très Bon on Paris Premiere channel. Finally, I carry consultancy projects through Darblay.co, an agency I created 2 years ago. The missions range from project management to marketing strategy for food & beverage related brands.
Any interesting ongoing or upcoming projects that you would like to share?
The upcoming chronicle for Très Très Bon: discovering Nantes’s very Bobo food market. A high quality indoor food market with a historical background and beautiful products. We’ll meet with the owner of a restaurant, decide on a few dishes to cook together and search for the best products on the market. I can’t wait to discover fresh seafood straight from the harbour and taste local honeys.
What is the most amazing location, restaurant or food you have tried for Très Très Bon?
My best memory so far was the visit of the Biarritz food market. At the edge between Spain and France, the Basque culture is though totally unique. Local & international people were mingling amongst the stalls, bright sun outside and of course fantastic tastings (highly peppered ham and some Iraty cheese amongst others). After the filming I went to the seaside and walked bare foot on the beach, watched surfers, strong wind in the hair, I guess this was a bit of a dream day!
What do you like most about this show?
What I like most about this show is to dig into a specific region’s food culture. We keep travelling to the other side of the world, which is great since we have the means to do so. But the discovery can be even greater closer. Re-visiting your country, especially after a few years abroad, is getting back to our own culture with new perspectives. Besides, the show is a way to communicate about local skills, ingredients, crafts that are sometimes unknown or even disappearing. It brings us back to our roots and even more, in a time where we seriously need it.
Which is your favourite thing in the world?
No hesitation, my favourite thing in the world is picking figs in trees. It’s like a mini hunt: you need to look for the best tree – the one that hasn’t been touched by hungry passer byes and animals – then find ways to climb in it, and pick it well enough so that it doesn’t break. My favourite thing of all is to pick up the fruit when it is still warm from the sun, at the end of the day. I could totally travel just for figs.
Which is your favourite place (restaurant, hotel, museum, etc.)?
I have a personal attachment to Brittany, and would definitely advise visit St Malo for its past grandeur and architecture, of course to discover Dinard’s food market, and then pay a visit to Chef Olivier Roellinger at his hotel & restaurant in Cancale. Olivier also has a beautiful spice shop, in the memory of sailors who used to travel the world to find those treasures.
Internationally wise I have a thing for Copenhagen. Noma is definitely a must try in life but the entire city is filled with incredible restaurants that arose with the “new Nordic” food culture. The best time to visit is late spring or summer: take a bike, ride by the water, eat porridge, cross parks, visit natural wine bars. And if you have a bit of time visit the museum of modern art Louisiana, located an hour by train from the city and probably one of the most beautiful museums in Europe. Incredible collection of sculptures in the garden in front of the see and beautiful architecture of the building itself.
What is the best trip you have done and why?
In terms of life experience I guess it was my first trip Brazil. I had the chance to learn Brazilian pastry and bread making in a restaurant in Sao Paulo (e.g. acai bread, Pao de Queijo, addictively good). I then travelled to Minas Gerais where I stayed in a coffee farm for a few days, to learn about the coffee making process. To finally end up in Rio and it’s festive atmosphere during the first days of Carnival.
I guess what is key to a trip’s success is to find the right hosts. People who are connected to your interests but also able to bring you outside of it. Same thing applied to the mind set: being able to target what we want from the experience while being open to dig into novelty and forms of risk.
What is your favourite deco / brand / e-shop/ concept store of the moment?
I love Oaxen Slipen’s interior in Stockholm, with a beautiful view on the water, the furniture section at Merci in Paris where you could easily feel at home, Selfridges’ food hall for the endless discoveries and the Dover Street Market in London for the Show.
Otherwise Aesop as a brand makes me happy several times a day J Soap, skincare…
What are you most proud of?
Project wise, having worked with the Noma team headed by René Redzepi. This had a tremendous impact on how I would see my professional life and how important it is to be close to innovators.
What is your motto?
Never losing the excitement of the child. Being amazed, happy about small details, being grateful.
Tell us one of your dreams…
Next dream to realise: Japan. I’m probably never coming back to Europe after that 😊
On a bigger less personal scale, a dream would be to shrink the gap between food a passion / entertainment and food as a necessity / need. The 2 worlds still ignore the other, however things are moving. Some great figures have been building remarkable project (e.g. Massimo Bottura in Brazil, Alex Atala and his foundation)
Follow Philippine here!