Sebastien Rondier began apprenticing with chefs at 16 and has cooked in Paris, Monaco, Vieques Island and, now, Washington, D.C. He has worked closely with Alain Ducasse for over ten years and was recently promoted to Executive Chef at Ducasse’s Adour. Today, we turn the tables and grill the Chef Rondier.
What’s in your fridge or freezer that would surprise people?
I always keep several gallons of milk in my fridge. Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved drinking milk
Last meal you cooked for yourself?
Casarecce pasta with English peas, zucchini blossom and ricotta cheese
Last meal on earth?
My grandmother’s grilled blood sausage with mashed potatoes
Which six people — alive or dead — would you choose to attend your ultimate dinner party? What would you serve?
My first choice for the ideal dinner party would definitely include my four grandparents and my parents. If I had to choose famous people, I would have to go with the Seinfeld cast — Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richard — and Marilyn Monroe and Joe di Maggio.
I would host these guests at my grandparents farm in Sancerre in the winter, and prepare charcuterie and cheese (Crotin de Chavignol) accompanied by Sancerre wine. For the main course, I would serve wild boar civet that has marinated for two days and slowly cooked for five hours, accompanied by potatoes, pearl onions, bacon and fresh tagliatelle pasta. To complete the meal, cherries in kirsch and apple pie would be served for dessert.
What non-food-related things do you do for fun?
In my free time, I love reading books, especially detective novels and crime thrillers. Patricia Cornwell is my favorite writer. I love her writing style and am currently reading The Body Farm (1994). My second favorite novelist is Thomas Harris for classics like Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon.
I also take pleasure in the simple things in life, such as walking around DC and going shopping. Because I am relatively new to the city of DC, I enjoy walking everywhere and anywhere to discover the capitol, one step at a time. I especially enjoying going to the little farmers’ market on 24th street, as well as walking through Dupont Circle and 13th street too, where I live. Other places I like to visit in my town include Alton Lane in DC for their custom made shirts and suits. When I’m in New York City, I like to drop in Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys and splurge a little on myself.
If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
First, I would go explore the Canadian Arctic tundra by canoe with all of my friends back in France that I haven’t seen in five years. It would be a different trip that the usual beach vacation—even though I love lounging on the sand and hearing the ocean, it can become pretty annoying after a few days. Besides, who doesn’t like a little adventure.
And then, I would fly to Europe for a culinary journey into Italy. Florence and the Ponte Vecchio are my absolute favorite, but for a long time I have wanted to discover Naples for is historical and artistic treasures. Also Verona, as well as Bologna, for the incredible farmers markets; and Turin for its artisan workshop and arcades, and the local food like San Daniele prosciutto, tiramisu, Gianduiotto chocolate, a specialty from the area.
What’s on your DVR?
The nine seasons of Seinfeld (you can probably tell I’m a big fan!). I could watch them all the time, and the French classics with Louis de Funès, Fernandel, Bourvil.