Sandy Gaillard, Cook&Co home chef: “I make good food or I don’t make it…”
Interview by Florence Colombo
Sandy Gaillard, the “gastronomy stylist”, is one of the home chefs you should know in Cap d’Agde. A good idea for your meals or your exceptional aperitifs.
As the founder of Cook&Co and a talented self-taught chef, she tells us about her career, her gourmet memories and her future wishes.
Hello Sandy, thank you for accepting this interview. Can you describe your background?
Sandy Gaillard – Cook&co : Hello, I’ve done a lot of beautiful things.
I was born in the nightlife and restaurant business. So that’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t go to hotel school because my mother didn’t want me to. She put me in general, I stopped and I went to school on my own. I flew on my own, I went to England when I was just 18, and there I learned to speak English. I came back and moved all over the South of France from Biarritz to Nice. I ended up in the Tarn in a restaurant listed in the Michelin Green Guide. At first I was in the dining room but the boss’s wife was pregnant and could no longer work as second cook. I was then offered to replace her for the summer, but I stayed on during the winter and started to do the starters, desserts and service. One thing leading to another, the chef had to be replaced and I offered myself. The boss accepted, I put my head in the books, I watched the first TV cooking channels. I went for it and it worked. I got some press articles.
Afterwards, I decided to go to Mayotte.
I wanted to spend two years in the wilderness, but it wasn’t possible. I arrived in a guest house and the owner decided to let me have the keys and go on holiday. There was a collective kitchen and I decided to cook for the guests. Very quickly, people from outside came to eat and soon I was contacted by a person who was looking for a chef for the Senator of Mayotte. I had been here for a month, in 2006.
I was 26 years old, I couldn’t refuse such an offer. I found myself the senator’s chef, and there I did extraordinary things. Inauguration for the opening of an airline: I did this inauguration for 500 people, on the tarmac with the heat and the particular management that this imposes. I also did the 30th anniversary of Air Austral. The founder of the company, who was present, offered me a plane ticket because he was so happy with my performance. I organised performances for the Miss Mayotte elections, I cooked for Jean-Pierre Foucault. I was then told that I was “a gastronomic stylist”.
I then took over a hotel on the island, I helped to set up another establishment but I was going in circles. Then I came across an opportunity, a totally derelict bed and breakfast restaurant. There was a big investment in refurbishment and I did everything with my father who had come to join me in this new project. It was a hit! I then did the same thing with a second establishment on the edge of the creek, I had about thirty employees.
Then, I returned to France in 2013.
You came back to settle in Cap d’Agde. Why did you come back?
I always come back here. This is my home. I have no family ties, my family is my friends. When I came back, I accepted to work for the restaurant “Le Bistrot” located in the naturist village, whereas I had refused fifteen years before. But I still wanted to move and when I was offered a job in Cannes, I accepted. I did rental management of luxury villas and I replaced the chefs from time to time. I did a lot of private services. Then I was offered an interesting management position on the Golf de Saint Tropez and I couldn’t say no. I then came back here with the idea of doing the services I offer today, I had been thinking about it for a long time.
So you’ve just set up Cook&Co home chef, what services do you offer?
Cook&Co is really a home service. I am your home chef. The range of possibilities is vast, so don’t hesitate to contact me. I can adapt to any request, any budget and any desire. People should not be afraid to say that a home chef is expensive. No, I adapt to the needs and budgets of each person.
I cook with fresh and local products. I will wait for the boats to return to the quay. My freshly ground spices are sent by my contacts from my many travels, my herbs are grown and dried by me. I make good stuff or I don’t…
In short, there is a lot of work and above all passion in my preparations.
You have accepted a partnership with Rent4natu, and we thank you very much for that.
People who stay in one of the “Rent4natu” accommodations will receive a discount, or even a little extra depending on the content of the service. It will be a real pleasure to cook for them.
What is your first gourmet memory?
I am from the South West, I was brought up on foie gras and truffles. My grandmother used to make me pan-fried foie gras like we normally eat minced steak. The real foie gras and the real truffle of the Périgord…
What are your future professional aspirations?
I have lots of possibilities and opportunities but I’ve already done a lot of things on my own. I’m not saying I’ve done everything, far from it, but I aspire to something else. Today, I want to stay in a human environment, it’s a quality of life. But I can’t say what I’ll do tomorrow…
You can find Cook&Co at this address, or contact Sandy on +33 6 46 40 13 63.