Born in Montreal, Charles-Antoine Crête had accumulated some interesting experiences by the time he started at elBulli. He started working in kitchens as a teenager, but took time off to stage at Tetsuya’s in Sydney, and to help open a new restaurant there. He also spent time in southern Australia working as a tuna fisherman and on an olive farm before moving on to first Japan, and then Barcelona. Today, he is chef de cuisine at the same restaurant where he began his career: Toqué!, in Montreal.
How did you end up staging at elBulli?
I really wanted to stage there, so I must have sent my resumé in eighty times. But I never heard back. Finally, my boss just bought me a ticket to fly to Spain and told me to go. So I showed up there—I remember it was pouring rain and I was soaking wet—and asked to speak with Albert. He had no idea who I was. I was like, I’m Charles, Charles Canada! Finally he realized it was the guy who had been sending him emails every day. So he said, “Ok, I’ll take your resumé.”
And once you got there, did it meet your expectations?
I had been a sous-chef in Montreal by the time I arrived at elBulli, so I was pretty hardcore. It’s the way I had been trained. So I loved the way the kitchen worked there, especially Oriol Castro. He was so dedicated. Read the rest of this entry »