Gourmet's 50 Women Game Changers in Food: #28, Anne-Sophie Pic

Enfin! We have a Game Changer who was born in a family of famous chefs. Although she rebelled a bit at first. Anne-Sophie Pic grew up in a Michelin-starred kitchen, "dipping her fingers into copper pots of simmering crayfish and sampling the pastry chef's choux à la crème as a girl." The restaurant, Maison Pic, received its third Michelin star under her grandfather in 1934 for the first time. Since then, all three generations, including her father Jacques Pic, have received three Michelin stars for the restaurant.

But just for a while, Sophie chose not to lead that life. She studied business management and traveled from Paris to the United States via Japan, which left its mark on her taste. It was also in Japan that she met her future husband, David Sinapian.

But in 1992 at the age of 23, she returned to the family kitchen where she informed her father she wanted to indulge her "real passion", cooking. Her father wanted her to attend hotel school, but his death that fall put an end to his plan. For a while, Anne-Sophie took care of other aspects of the restaurant business, always keeping in mind she preferred to be in the kitchen. Her husband and mother Suzanne were very supportive of her and in 1998 with their backing, and to the amazement of everyone, Anne-Sophie walked into the kitchen and started her apprenticeship.

Her last name was Pic for good reason and Sophie, a self-taught cook, assembled a young team that shared her vision. Thanks to her husband David Sinapian’s managerial role, she could fully devote herself to cooking and develop her style, which is characterized by pairings of subtle flavours. Anne-Sophie won three Michelin stars as well and she is only the fourth woman in history to achieve that honor. The restaurant is listed on the Relais & Châteaux website as: "
Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in town."

Maison Pic, with Sophie at the helm, is located in Valence, France and is a century-old. "The restaurant exudes a hushed elegance that's on par with her cooking, described as being creative, light and refined." The restaurant's successive rooms are lit by French windows open onto the patio or the adjacent gardens. Bright colours and “period” furniture provide unexpected notes thanks to their colour and size. Enormous frames without pictures, tables dressed with bursts of light and simplicity, the gentle murmur of conversation, and the discreet presence of the waiters and sommeliers all add to the atmosphere.
Here's a wonderful video: (I hope it works for you!)

Anne-Sophie believes that everything begins with the product and she works with fishermen, market gardeners and farmers who provide her with knowledge that she can draw on at will.  She recently was recognized as the World's Best Female Chef, chosen by a panel of 837 voters around the world that included food critics, journalists, chefs and restaurateurs representing 27 different international regions. In 2004, she published “Au nom du Père” (“Like father, like daughter”), which describes her journey and her gratitude towards her family, particularly her father to whom she dedicates with great emotion this third star. 

The year 2006 saw the opening of the bistro “7 by Anne-Sophie-Pic", a sign of the modernity that is sweeping through Maison Pic. In 2007, Anne-Sophie Pic opened “SCOOK,” her cooking school, near the Maison Pic, to share her passion with a larger audience. 

The restaurant website: http://www.pic-valence.com/

To represent Anne-Sophie Pic, I chose an unusual recipe. It's a pudding and was included in her book: Entertaining: Kitchen Lesson by Anne-Sophie Pic in a section for children. Are you familiar with Carambar? 

It's a caramel candy, a cross between the American Sugar Daddy and Tootsie Roll.  These little caramel sticks, each about 4 inches long, crack when cold and are soft when warm. They are really quite delicious and I had never tasted them before. This is a very basic pudding recipe and using the Carambars made it fun and different.

Creamy Carambar

8 Carambar bars
20 cl milk (6 3/4 fluid ounces)
2 eggs
40g caster sugar
20g cornflour (I used cornstarch)
200g unsalted butter, room temperature


Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the Carambars and melt.
Mix the eggs with the sugar in a bowl. Add the cornstarch to the eggs, temper with a little of the carambar/milk mixture and then add everything to the saucepan, whisking all the while. Heat over low heat, stirring until the mixture thickens like a custard.

Pour the sauce into a container and stick a sheet of cling film in contact with the cream to prevent a crust forms. Let cool until the mixture is at room temperature, about 15 minutes.
When the correct temperature is reached (about 40 ° C), add the soft butter into small pieces. Mix with an electric device to obtain a smooth cream. Place in the fridge.
You can serve it plain in small pots or in glass dishes. I added 6 small pieces of Carambar cut with scissors to decorate. Serves 4.

Join Mary from One Perfect Bite and all the other participants in this fun series.
(We're taking a Christmas break and will be back with another Game Changer January 6th!)

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Kathleen Van Bruinisse - Bake Away with Me 
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Martha - Lines from Linderhof
Amy - Beloved Green

 Ciao Chow Linda


  1. A wonderfully regressive dessert, mmmhh!



  2. What an impressive, starred background. I'm learning so much during this series.

    So fun to cook for children too. Lovely pudding Barbara.

  3. Love this! It's totally new to me, and your photos are great. I need to visit this restaurant.

  4. I have never hear of this creative dessert. It is easy to see why this wonderful woman who followed her legacy should be on "the list".

  5. I know this one this time ;D

    It is one of my dreams to be in her restaurant, hotel AND if possible, to meet her....
    Even though I had already seen the video, I enjoy re-watching it every time....simplicity and refinement!

    I love your dessert au Carambar..it reminds me of the many times I found these "bombons" in the pocket of my children (now grown up, sniff sniff!) Thanks, and Happy Chrsitmas for you and All your followers! For them, just in case, I translate the final phrase of the video.....

    "Cuisiner pour ceux qu'on aime c'est la plus belle preuve d'amour" (Cooking for those we love is the most beautiful proof of love

  6. Carambar is new to me, the pudding looks fantastic. Informative, I've never heard of Anne-Sophie Pic before your post.

  7. Never heard of Carambar, but it sounds like I would love it!

  8. This is the first one on the list I was not familiar with. The name rang a very vague bell but not much... SHe sounds wonderful and I love the look on her face when she works.. like a pianist playing Chopin... whoa. I didn't know carambar either... so many new things here... it must be fun going through that list!

  9. Fabulous story, and wow that looks wonderful. Too rich for my tastes, but my father would have loved it.

  10. fun dessert for kids and kids at heart

  11. What an amazing woman! I had never heard of her until now so I appreciate the post, Barbara. I've never heard of a Carambar, but it sounds delicious...I'll keep my eyes open for it!

  12. Oh yes, this is SO fun! I've never heard of Carambar...but I bet I'd like 'em! Such a great choice :D

  13. Your posts today was truly fantastic as was the dessert you shared with us. I really have to try it. I've never heard or seen it and I am really curious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  14. Interesting recipe using a classic American candy! Richard

  15. What an interesting foodie background she has! I don't think I've ever eaten a Carambar but your description of it sounds delicious to me. I love how you garnished this :)

  16. I don't know what a Carambar is - but I shall seek it out and eat it! And savor. The dessert is just beautiful - love that she has a cookbook dedicated to cooking with kids. The kid in me would love this.

  17. What an inspiring story. Great that she has been able to follow her dreams, and not only follow them but excel in them.

  18. I've never heard of these Carambars before but this sounds like it makes for a splendid dessert!

  19. Carambars sound delicious. Love the story and the pick. Yum.

  20. It sounds good and looks even better! I am so impressed with all of you for joining in this series! Love learning about these women.

  21. I'd love to visit Maison Pic and her cooking school! I've never had a carambar, but I think if I did I'd quickly become addicted. Sounds like a delicious pudding!

  22. This is such an interesting dessert. Have never tried anything like this before. :o)
    Thanks for sharing it.

  23. I have loved reading the game changers series. You have done a fantastic job!

  24. what a very interesting dessert! i've never had a carambar, but as you've described it, it sounds magnificent!



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