Winter 2020. France has been bogged down in an endless pandemic for several months. Restaurants and bars have closed their doors, the end of year celebrations promise to be gloomy and the author of these lines wonders if she will ever go back to school. At the moment when we almost came to regret not having a hangover, arises Cooked, a collection of easy recipes from top chefs for a difficult tomorrow. Sign Victory Wolf, based on an original idea by Human Humans, the book quickly became one of the bestsellers of this eventful end of the year, preparing hearts and stomachs for the reopening of the world. The concept, simple and effective, appeals: some revel in the anecdotes of the chefs, who come back to watered feasts, while others are already fantasizing about their next day after an alcoholic evening.
love and pantry
Almost a year later, when a semblance of normality seems to have enveloped France, the bubbly foodie puts the cover back on with two books: treats (October 20 in bookstores) and Hot (November 17). The first is a bible of good products, a kind of ideal shopping list for epicureans and the curious, which highlights what a handful of producers, artisans and chefs do best today. From pie to biscuits, via honey, Victoire Loup has scoured farms, farms and grocery stores to unearth nuggets whose use, history and above all where to order them she takes care to detail. A work of titan (500 products are referenced there) that only a hard worker like this graduate of Sciences Po Paris could bring down.
For Hot, she has once again made it her mission to get the chefs talking. Exit the remedies for hangovers, this time, she exposes the secrets of Anne-Sophie Pic, Mauro Colagreco or Céline Pham to conquer the loved one by coaxing his taste buds. That is 60 recipes that allow experts and laymen alike to seduce in the kitchen. A sacred program crossbred with crisp anecdotes (“Stuffing the courgette flowers is a rather sexual gesture, but I promise it’s a coincidence”, says for example Delphine Plisson, about the dish she has chosen to share), guaranteed without cliché or sentimentality.
Show white paw
It’s that Victoire Loup doesn’t do things like everyone else, and when she approaches revelry, love affairs and hangovers, it’s with a touch that distinguishes her works from those that fill the shelves of bookstores. “I try to reveal the human being behind each chef,” she explains. His very first book, At home (released in July 2020 and of which 100% of the profits were donated to the Ernest association, which distributes baskets of vegetables to families in need) laid the foundations of this philosophy. Really immersed in the personal kitchens of great chefs, he painted an unfussy portrait of the stars of French gastronomy. In the intimate, At home finally reached the universal thanks to the unifying power of a good little dish.
But all these confidences could never have been collected if the author had not established a relationship of trust with all these figures of the French culinary scene. “Each time I am touched that they take the time to answer my questions, dare to venture into somewhat daring subjects, and lend themselves to the game by delivering a recipe and above all a very personal anecdote”, explains Victoire Loup. . These links, she worked on them for years. First at Le Fooding, where she was responsible for communication, then as a consultant and food critic between Paris and Los Angeles, notably helping chefs to settle on the West Coast of the United States.
Together, that’s all
His code of conduct ? The respect. A value that guides her daily in her choices. “I remember this sentence from Théophile Pourriat (Septime) in a forum: “The restaurant of tomorrow will be engaged or it will not be””, she reports. This requires, in his opinion, “respect for the product and the seasons, respect for the land and the producers who feed us, respect for the employees in the dining room and in the kitchen”. A virtuous equation that she finds in particular at Racines (Paris 2nd), La Grenouillère (la Madeleine-sous-Montreuil), Clamato (Paris 11th), La Merenda (Nice), Mokonuts (Paris 11th) or La Chassagnette (Arles) , which are among his favorite addresses in France.
Today, Victoire Loup no longer plays the hunters as much as the builders. Her contagious energy, her work ethic, her organization — her friends pass on her city guides and other skilfully researched holiday itineraries — and her flair are put to the service of the bridges she builds between the chefs and the general public with its works, between brands and consumers thanks to its consulting projects. As a way to democratize access to good things. Because after all, “food is an essential need, not a luxury – eating brings us together and brings us together,” she says. And being together may be all we need in this troubled 21st century.
At home and Cooked (Human Humans), by Victoire Loup, 24.90 euros and 19.90 euros.
treats (Hachette Cuisine) and Hot (Hachette Cuisine & Human Humans) by Victoire Loup, to be released on October 20 and November 17 respectively.