Her approach to cooking
For Nicole, the product is the essential element on which her cooking is based. Then come the season, the market, an encounter, her travels and the discussions that make cooking develop into something new.
What she thinks
"Cooking is about a lot more than recipes. Technique is important, but what interests me is more the feeling that a dish can create, through its taste and by striking the right balance between flavours and textures."
Nicole's restaurant Le Vieux Pont is her family home. It was here that she was born, in Belcastel (lien vers OI Belcastel / rubrique villes et villages remarquables), a little village of 50 inhabitants officially classified as one of the most beautiful in France, 25 kilometres from Rodez. She learned the art of eating well and living well from a very young age.
Nicole's family ran the auberge in Belcastel, which had a great reputation for culinary delights such as fried gudgeon (caught in the local river), baby goat with sorrel, and stuffed cabbage. After completing her studies at hotel school in Souillac and Toulouse, Nicole was keen to return to her village on the banks of the Aveyron. "I couldn't live without the warm friendly atmosphere of my home and the wonderful smells and colours of the countryside here."
Nicole's family has always been very important to her and it continues to be so. She works with her sister Michèle and her husband Bruno, who is also a chef.
The chef's suggestions
Her organic Larzac Fario trout with petits pois, kernel oil, vegetables zests, shallots and ham; but also her Aveyron and Ségala veal with kaffir lime and almond. The thick veal pavé is served pink with potato purée, ginger and lemon.
Her favourite Midi-Pyrénées wine
Marcillac AOC (Aveyron) because of its beautiful purple colour, pronounced blackcurrant flavour and character.
Her take on Midi-Pyrénées
Nicole believes Midi-Pyrénées is crammed with superb produce that chefs have a responsibility to serve in its finest guise. For Nicole, gastronomy is like a journey, another way of experiencing Midi-Pyrénées.
The price of lunch at Le Vieux Pont
From €29 (the price of the 'Découverte et Saveur' set menu served at lunchtimes except on weekends and public holidays).