Chefs’ Guilty Pleasures: Gilles Marx

Chef Gilles Marx doesn’t believe in junk food. But it doesn’t mean he is uptight; we dig deeper into his favorite snack.

Asked about his relationship with junk food, Gilles said he tries to avoid it as much as possible.

“I’m a believer of ‘you are what you eat’. So, I don’t eat junk food but that doesn’t mean I don’t eat snacks. I believe in snacking but on the healthy ones such as olives, marinated olives, or nuts but not fried. I believe in comfort food; one of the comfort foods that I eat a lot is tarte flambée,” said Gilles, who is a native of Alsace, a region in northeastern France on the Rhine River plain.

Tarte flambée translates as “tart cooked in flames.” In southern Germany it is known as flammkuchen, which means “flame cake.” Alsatian dishes in general can be described as having German savoriness and bold flavors tempered with French finesse and dedication to quality.

“I eat a lot of tarte flambée whenever I’m home. It is cheap, healthy and fulfilling,” said Gilles.

Home is where he started honing his skills. His professional career started in La Poele d’Or, which holds one Michelin Star, and he continued working at Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Le Paris Restaurant, Chef Pierre Orsi, Le Cote St Jacques and Le Taillevant.

He came to Indonesia in 1998 and became the executive chef at a restaurant at a hotel in Jakarta. Now, Gilles serves as chef founder and operations director at AMUZ Gourmet Group – APREZ.

Tarte flambée looks like a pizza with a layer of cheese, onions and bacon and it is even baked using firewood. It is very crisp and thin. The main differences between tarte flambée and pizza are the absence of tomatoes and guilt.

Usually eaten in the evening together with family, Gilles explained that tarte flambée was everyone’s favorite back home.

“It’s great for entertaining; going out for tarte flambée was a big deal. It was a way to get together with everybody. In a restaurant, they will keep bringing the dish until you say stop. Every one minute, there will be another tart coming out.” Gilles recommends eating the dish with white wine or craft beer.

Flame baked bread dough rolled out very thinly covered with crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions and pancetta.


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Written by Divya Pridhnani and Tatu Hutami Photographs by Dennie Ramon April 23, 2017.