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Hotseat - Pierre Guyot

808_HotseatChef at The Charter House.

Pierre Guyot is a seasoned French chef who whips up his magic in the restaurant at Charter House 1863, Seafood and Steak House on the Waterfront in Simpson Bay Yacht Club. For those of you who know, Charter House is located in the former Saratoga restaurant building and is an intimate setting for great dining. The bachelor enjoys pleasing palates using his skill in the kitchen. Born on May 3, 1982, Guyot, has worked at a number of eateries in his native France over the years picking up numerous skills, all of which he combines for a remarkable experience at his current place of employment. He gives an insight into his life in this week's Hot Seat.

How would you describe yourself?

"I don't really know how to describe myself. I suggest you ask this question to one of my colleagues."

Where were you educated, and what did you study?

"I studied cooking at Tecomah Apprenticeship School in Versailles near Paris, France, for two years.

Why chef?

"When I was 16, I didn't really know what to do. I used to cook at home for my parents and I tried a few interesting food mixes. I loved to play with food and transform it, so my mother suggested that I go to a cooking school. I decided to try working for one week at a traditional French restaurant to see what it would be like to be a chef and I loved it. The preparation, pressure of the service starting, the rush and the ambiance had me hooked. I then looked for a school to attend and a restaurant to dot my apprenticeship. I graduated after two years. I was doing really fine at the restaurant where I did my apprenticeship, so they hired me straight away. I worked there for six months and they wanted to keep me and promote me, but I decided to try something else."

Tell me about your experience in restaurants.

At the age of 19, I moved to Brittany Quest in Pornic, France. I found a nice French Brasserie on the beach and I was hired as the second chef there. I remained at that restaurant for two years. The Head Chef later gave his position to me. I stayed at this Brasserie a bit longer than four years and decided that I wanted to change again for a different experience.

Thanks to a friend of mine, who had been working in London, United Kingdom, I found a nice fine dining French restaurant, called Mon Plaisir in Central London. Frank Raymond, who has a Michelin Star background, is still the head chef there. I was hired as the Chef de Partie in the meat section. That was really hard and great at the same time. I learnt a lot there. It was a busy place. I worked there six days a week on double shift.

My flatmate at the time, who was also a chef, gave my CV to his head chef at another restaurant and I was hired at Coq d'Argent - a fine dining restaurant in Central London. I worked there as the chef for six years – two years as Sous Chef and four years as Chef de Partie. (A Chef de Partie is responsible for running a specific section of a restaurant kitchen. This type of chef usually manages a small team of workers). I enjoyed working in a big team. There were up to 26 chefs there. I loved that place, but London is a really expensive city and the weather was quite grey."

How did you end up in St. Maarten?

"I knew a sous chef, who had worked and lived in St. Martin for three years, 12 years ago. He told me a lot about St. Martin and showed me pictures and I looked up more information about the island. I liked it and moved here on December 1, 2011. My first job was at a French Brasserie in Marigot. I worked there for a year. I also worked part time at another restaurant."

How did you end up at Charter House?

"I met someone affiliated with Charter House, who told me about a new restaurant and offered me the Head Chef position. I had always wanted to do something more interesting than a Brasserie and I was more than happy to finally get the chance to have my own team and my own kitchen."

What special flavours have you added to Charter House's menu?

"Before we opened Charter House, [the boss – Ed.] and I agreed to have a modern fusion menu with a bit of French and British touch with spicy mild flavours."

Favourite things to eat?

"I personally love my home-made coconut basil curry. It is superb with the fresh hand dive, large sea scallops and jumbo shrimp. I am a sauce lover. It really rocks."

What differentiates you from other chefs?

"Every single chef is different. I consider myself to be open to everything except veal liver. That I hate."

What can we find on your stove at home?

"I don't cook often at home, but sometimes I please myself with a fresh fish. I love snapper with just some salt and pepper seared and a lemon juice."

Your favourite place to dine?

"I don't really have a favourite place to dine here, but I love sushi and had a really good time at some local Sushi spots."

How do you occupy yourself when you are not working?

"In my free time, I try to enjoy the island's beaches and the warm sea. I love to play games, pool and darts with friends. I also enjoy a game of chess whenever I find someone to play with, but to be honest I love my bed in the morning as well."

Funny pet peeve?

"Silly requests, such as someone asking for an egg-white omelette, but garnished with bacon and sausages."

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

"In ten years I see myself right here at Charter House 1863; Seafood and Steak House. I love the location and the restaurant is beautiful. The kitchen is also great to work in."

Biggest fear?

"I am not scared of nothing. I was trained old-school."

What is your favourite type of music? Which artistes do you listen to?

"I like old rock music - Jimmy Hendrix and Chuck Berry, for example.

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?

"I would invite Paul Bocuse, Quentin Tarantino and Princess Diana. I would roast for them, a nice milk-fed leg of lamb - rosemary lamb - and roasted mixed vegetables.