Wilfrid Hocquet is a relatively tall Frenchman with a refined sense of style. He has a brain like a train and a calm energy like he is connected to himself - most of the time. It comes as no surprise that his creations mirror his stylish demeanor. Among his culinary peers, he is renowned for his impeccable plating skills and unparalleled techniques that keep diners coming back over at over at his restaurant.
The Southern France native is well acquainted with the world of MICHELIN Stars. He dedicated over a decade of his career to training under the guidance of his mentor, the living culinary legend Alain Ducasse. Throughout his extensive experience spanning more than two decades, he has worked in renowned establishments such as Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à l'Hôtel de Paris and Daniel by Daniel Boulud. After that, life has brought his culinary journey full circle as the Executive Chef of Blue by Alain Ducasse. This scenic contemporary French restaurant, situated alongside the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, achieved its own MICHELIN Star within its first year, a remarkable accomplishment considering the challenges posed by the pandemic. Under his leadership, the team not only achieved the prestigious recognition but also garnered a big nod for their top-of-the-class techniques and exquisite presentation skills.
Though the menu at Blue rotates seasonally, one dish consistently shines regardless of the season: the salmon brioche. This exceptional dish features a beautifully cooked salmon fillet, complemented by a delicate layer of salmon mousse made with cream, egg white, and dill. Encased within a warm and crispy brioche, this masterpiece of French pastry art remains irresistibly soft on the inside. It is a true testament to the mastery of culinary craftsmanship found at Blue.
Becoming a salmon brioche with vin jaune sauceHaving honed his skills with the world's finest, the skillful Hocquet wants to experiment with saumon en brioche, a classic French dish where salmon fillets are wrapped in brioche dough and baked until golden brown and flaky. This dish combines the flavours of buttery brioche and delicate salmon. "My initial thought for this dish was to create an elegant version of the classic French Saumon en brioche. My aim was to modernise the recipe and present it in a way that resembles a Japanese sando."
© Blue by Alain Ducasse
However, the challenge at hand was to prepare everything from scratch and achieve the ideal temperature for the salmon, ensuring it remained tender while imparting a smoky flavour. Additionally, his aim was to attain a perfectly cooked brioche - crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. "I think many people love smoked salmon, but it is often served cold. Bringing some heat to it brings out more tenderness, if only for a brief moment, and when the aroma wafts to the table, it becomes truly mouthwatering."
Science behind the dishFrench cuisine and pastry are known for their meticulous craftsmanship. And he honours his beloved cuisine just that. He starts with a salmon fillet that is delicately brined and lightly smoked. He then creates a thin layer of salmon mousse using leftover ingredients such as cream, egg white, and dill. To complete the dish, he wraps the salmon in blanched savoy cabbage leaves and encases it in brioche. This technique creates a unique texture, with the brioche offering a crispy and tender contrast to the soft and juicy salmon. The smoky flavour of the fish perfectly complements the vin jaune sauce, also known as yellow wine sauce with ikura, resulting in a harmonious pairing.
Secrets to his signature dishThe secret of this dish lies in its cooking technique, which even with his extensive experience, Chef Hocquet finds challenging. “The cooking method involves ensuring all the ingredients reach a specific temperature simultaneously, allowing for perfect cooking,” he explains. His secret is to start the cooking process on a hot pastry tray, ensuring the brioche is seared from the beginning to prevent overcooking the salmon. It's a meticulous approach to cooking, the only way he knows how to prepare food - with precision and flawlessness, just like his impeccably styled hairstyle.
Illustration image: © Blue by Alain Ducasse