Chef Eric Obry – from Arras to Aberlour – Scotch Whisky News

Eric Obry – from Arras to Aberlour

Author: Jennifer Stevenson

 

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Eric Obry joined Chivas Brothers as our full-time chef based at Linn House a year ago, and having just delivered some show-stopping menus at the latest Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, he still loves the challenges the role brings.

Owner of La Faisanderie French restaurant in Dufftown, Eric, who hails from the north of France, decided that it was time for a change. With a young family and a passion for whisky, he doesn’t regret swapping the restaurant business for an in-house role at Chivas Brothers.

He said: “Life changed because I have a young family now and the problem with having a restaurant is that you are open every day for long hours, so I didn’t really get to spend much time at home.

“When the opportunity came up to work for Chivas Brothers as chef at Linn House I was delighted. It gave me the opportunity to have the weekends off to spend with my family, and having already done a lot for the company on an ad hoc basis, I knew I’d love working with the team. I‘ve known many of them for years because they used to come to my restaurant, so they’re like family.”

Based at the company’s Linn House property in Keith, Eric caters for the hundreds of visitors that come to our sites in Speyside from throughout the UK and overseas each year. These include VIPs and distributors from key markets, as well as our colleagues from other parts of Pernod Ricard, media guests and visitors to the annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Eric said: “I’ve created dinners at Aberlour, Strathisla and The Glenlivet distilleries as well as Linn House. I’ve also been working on the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival gala dinner with (Chivas Brothers International Brand Ambassador) Ann Miller for 13 years, and it’s one of the highlights of the festival. We used to do it at Aberlour distillery, but now, because it’s becoming more and more popular, we do it at Strathisla where we can accommodate more guests.”

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A keen hunter and gatherer, Eric loves using local Scottish produce and raves about the Highlands’ rich natural larder. He added: “I’m a seasonal chef so I like to use what is in season. Nowadays you can get things like strawberries all year round, which I don’t like. One of my main ingredients is game – I hunt myself – and wild mushrooms. It’s all locally sourced, and at Linn House we also have a private garden where we grow fruit and vegetables.”

Eric first arrived in Scotland 16 years ago. When asked what attracted him here, he simply answered – “The whisky!”

He elaborated: “I have always, always been attracted to Scotland. I love whisky, and ended up in Dufftown because it’s supposedly the whisky capital of the world – although I’ve heard there is a dispute with Islay over who holds that title! We visited Strathisla distillery when we had only been in Scotland for a few weeks.

“I am from the north of France, a place between Calais and Paris called Arras,but before I moved to Scotland I lived in the south of France, near Montpellier for nearly nine years. Some people thought I was crazy going from the south of France to the north of Scotland – but the people here are so friendly. I was really welcomed and have a lot of friends. I love it.”

Eric’s creations include whisky dinners where each course is paired with one of our products, to creating unique sauces, desserts and meat dishes using whisky as the key ingredient.

Having  worked alongside Martine Nouet – a food and drink commentator renowned for creating unique whisky pairings and sensory experiences – Eric quickly honed his skills for cooking with whisky, despite this being a fairly new concept to him when he first arrived in the UK.

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He sums up: “The Brand Ambassadors usually give me free reign with the menus. I love to cook with venison, Aberdeen Angus beef and the scallops here are also great. There aren’t enough chefs that use the local produce, which is a shame because it’s all here.

“I’ve cooked for people from all over the world. It’s great to meet them. We get great feedback and it’s always a pleasure to cook for them.”

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