A proponent of organic ingredients, he believes they are one of the hottest trends to watch. "Hopefully more and more chefs will step away from the mass-produced food that is so predominant in our culture," says de Melogue. "When I lived in the Hudson Valley, I used to go out to all the small-scale farms and work with the food raisers. The advantages are that you know exactly what happens with your food from the moment the asparagus is cut to when it appears on the table."
De Melogue is passionate about long-distance hiking. "In 2000, I walked 2,168.2 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine," he explains. "It was one of the most profound experiences of my life. For six months, I walked through the forests and over 256 mountains. It was this experience that made me appreciate how little we actually need to live a fulfilling life. It taught me to live communally and to be socially conscious. We get so caught up with numbers, deadlines and material items that we lose sight of who and what we are."
One day, he hopes to write a food column and perhaps a book. "My long-term goals are to live a healthy, long life," says de Melogue. "Professionally, I just want to see people smile and enjoy themselves."
After enjoying a variety of culinary masterpieces at Pili.Pili, we asked de Melogue to look into his crystal ball for a view of the cuisines and flavors that will influence future menu development.
He answers with no hesitation. "No crystal ball necessary! Our cuisine will be based on the cuisine and flavors of Provence, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Egypt and all the other countries of the Mediterranean. The food is honest, simple, healthy and, most importantly, delicious."
Top of his toque
FP: What are some of your favorite foods (when others are cooking for you)?
De Melogue: I love to go to Vegan restaurants. I also eat lots of Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Italian, Chinese well, just about anything.
FP: What ingredients do you always keep in your refrigerator?
De Melogue: Saucisson, salads, good stinky cheeses, homemade breads, fruits and vegetables, hummus, pita and coffee and milk.
FP: Which innovative chefs do you most admire?
De Melogue: Currently, Franck Cerutti, Alain Ducasse, Guy Gedda, Joel Robuchon, Alain Passard and Pierre Gagnaire. God, there are so many good chefs today! I am very influenced by the unknown chefs who work in restaurants all over the Mediterranean.
FP: What is your personal formula, vision on food and lifestyle?
De Melogue: Live life simply and uncluttered. As Marco Pierre White once said, ,'At the end of the day, it is just food.'