Gui Alinat: a Chef inspired by tradition
When one characterizes his cooking as atypical, he says that it is more a “signature cuisine”: a blend resembling him, his sensitivity, culture, interests, and the land where he evolved.
From his native French region Provence known as the French Riviera, he kept his love for sunshine, friendliness, flavors and Pastis. However, do not run to his table to eat the famous Provencal dish “la Bouillabaisse”. He says, “It would be a sacrilege” but you will find a good "aïoli"… Inverview.
- e-Toile: Hello Mr. Gui Alinat, you’re a Chef, a caterer, an entrepreneur, and a food critic. What will you not know how to do that relates to food?
Gui Alinat: I write, but I’m not a food critic.This is for one simple reason: I can’t criticize cooking because I find taste or at least an interest in everything!
Yes, I have a lot of activities that revolve around cooking.
I get this from my grandfather, who was an expert in many things. He had so many jobs during his life that on the day of his retirement, he received pension payments from dozens of different organizations. He did so much in the course of his lifetime, he was a jack-of-all-trades!
- e-Toile: What have you kept from your region, La Provence, with has so many unique charateristics?
Gui Alinat: Sunshine, friendliness, flavors and Pastis... The simplicity of the cooking as well.
One thing that I have not made in Florida however, is the bouillabaisse. It would be a sacrilege to make because the fish are too different.
If one day my friends over there were to suspect that I’ve added lobster and grouper together to do the dish, they’d kill me the next time I go to Marseille!
The aioli, yes. One can find good cod in Puerto Rican or Cuban grocery stores.
- e-Toile: You present your cooking as atypical. For you, is this synonymous with modernity?
Gui Alinat: Atypical perhaps not, but I like to do cooking which I call "signature cuisine."
That is to say, cuisine that resembles me, that reflects my sensitivity, my culture, my interests, and the land where I evolved. So of course, as my background is atypical like many chefs, the cuisine I’m trying to do is by definition different from that of others.
I do not care for modernity. It is true that my cuisine can be interpreted as such, but it is not for the sake of following one trend or another. Rather, I like things that are rooted in tradition but presented in a common, even innovative way.
- e-Toile: And finally, why did you decide to settle on the West Coast of Florida after having traveled and worked in so many countries both in Europe and Latin America?
Gui Alinat: Ah that, you know, it was a little in part because of the opportunities and the risks of life.
In fact, I landed in Tampa almost at random. At the time (1999), curiously, it could have been Flagstaff, AZ or Santa Barbara, CA. I chose Tampa because of the sea and the proximity to Marseille (compared to California).
Then we moved, opened a business, bought a house, had children, and after a while, we realized that we were established here. I like it here in Florida.
Article published on July 11, 2013