Chef’s Thoughts with Vincent Horville

By | July 11th, 2018

Vincent Horville, Executive Chef of The Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington (D.C.), hails from Versailles, France, where he grew up in the restaurant business and helped out in the kitchen from an early age.

Vincent Horville has been the Executive Chef of The Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington (D.C.) since 2006, but his passion for cooking has taken him across the globe and to many prestigious properties and events.

Horville is a four-time presenter at C&RB’s Chef to Chef Conference. He was an Iron Chef America participant winner in 2006 and has participated in multiple James Beard dinners. He has appeared as a featured instructor at the Smithsonian Institute and also on local television programming in the Washington, D.C. area.

  1. If I could trade places with one chef it would be any line cook in a Michelin 3-star restaurant.
  2. One of my most memorable meals was at Tse-Yang in Paris. I was only 19 years old, but I was part of a private party and we were served 21 courses with top-shelf wines paired with authentic Mandarin cuisine.
  3. My go-to drink is a 90-minute IPA.
  4. My last meal would be anything stewed on the bone by someone who is very skilled.
  5. My worst culinary creation was a buckwheat blinis dough that I stored under the flat iron for a large caviar station. I went to lunch and left it in a container that was too small. The dough rose out of the container because of the heat source and spread onto the carpet, about six feet in diameter. When I came back from lunch, the chef was on the floor with ten people, each holding a spatula, trying to clean it up as the wedding party was coming into the room. Needless to say, Chef “ripped me a new one” that day.
  6. If I could change one thing about my club it would be to have a bigger kitchen.
  7. My favorite junk foods are charcuterie and cheeses.
  8. If I wasn’t a chef, I’d love to be either a painter, sculptor or musician.
  9. I knew I wanted to be a chef when I was told I would not make any money painting until I was dead.
  10. You’ll never see Normandy “andouille de vireon the menu at my club, because I can’t import it.
  11. The most ridiculous member or guest request I’ve ever had was a grilled cheese sandwich, untoasted.
  12. I love being a club chef because I can still do classic, nostalgic French cuisine for members who truly appreciate it, while also running a catering operation and a restaurant that features more trendy dishes and techniques.
  13. When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m sleeping.
  14. My biggest mistake when I first started as a chef was this one time I was cooking and glazing pearl onions for beef stew for 50 minutes. The liquid had evaporated, but the sugar hadn’t caramelized; it was still white. Turns out, I had used salt instead of sugar. (The Chef “ripped me a new one” that day, too.)
  15. If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want these five foods with me: Live geese and Moulard duck to make foie gras, which I’d pair with seared pineapples from the island. (I would ferment coconut water and pineapple for a sweet beer to go with the liver.) I’d probably also need two large, duroc pigs, one male and one female, so they could reproduce. Then I’d need one case of Barbancourt rum, the reserve one, and a case of Richebourg (the magnums, any year will do). I’ll fish for some fresh seafood and I’ll host a luau party every night.
  16. I make PB&J at home, but I’d never make it at the club.
  17. If I could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, it would be either René Descartes or Sir Isaac Newton—but they’d have to cook for me.
  18. The most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever received was, “There aren’t any traffic jams in the extra mile. You’re there alone.”
  19. The most important thing in my kitchen is quality. (This applies to everything, including food, staff, and equipment.)
  20. I want to learn more about music because it’s relaxing.
  21. My favorite ingredient depends on the season. Edible flowers are the most overrated ingredients. Lemon zest and lemon juice are the most undervalued ingredients. I detest anything cooked without care and passion, and I can’t live without sea salt.
  22. The rule of conduct in my kitchen is: Be professional in everything you do.
  23. My most embarrassing moments in the kitchen are when a member sends his or her food back and you know that he or she is right to have done so.
  24. In clubs, I would like to see more real brigades, not just stations and cooks.
  25. My favorite book is The Food of France by Waverley Root. (If you read only one book this year, read this one.)
  26. My favorite movie is “Animal House.”
  27. My favorite kitchen hack is using fleur de sel as the finishing touch on almost every dish.
  28. I am inspired and motivated by many things. But if I have to choose one, I’d say by being part of a team that cares about what they’re doing and wants to achieve greatness.

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