11 / 09 / 2014
It’s time to introduce you all to Mapie, a very talented and forever-smiling cook!
Hi Mapie, can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself ?
My name is Mapie Lamy, I’m 43 years old and was born in Aix en Provence. I have been living in Lourmarin, a small village in the Luberon, for the past 15 years with my husband and my children. I would describe myself as a mobile caterer. I cook for all sorts of different people, at my place or at theirs. I cook for both private and business events. For there to be chemistry, I like to get to know the people I work for, to feel like we’re on the same wavelength, for there to be a real exchange, for it to be fun. I was recently described in an article as being a “festive caterer” - I found that very touching.
How did you start out ?
I grew up in Aix en Provence. I’ve always adored food; food was a favourite topic of conversation in our family. But I also adored cinema, so I was torn between studying either catering or film. In the end, I chose to do film studies in the UK. I’d always adored England ever since I was a little girl and I also had family ties there.
Once I’d graduated, I spent twelve years working for a music magazine in London, and then went on to be a production assistant for a photographer’s agent. During that time, I experimented with food, using my work colleagues as guinea pigs. I moved back to France 15 years ago to help my mother run her B&B in Lourmarin. Then I opened a tearoom-restaurant-bookshop with my husband Christophe. We ran it together for 6 years.
What is your relationship with Sessun ?
I met Emma five years ago through her husband Nico, an old friend of mine. Emma and I hit it off instantly; I felt like I had known her for years. We have lots in common. We both love beautiful things, la dolce vita, shoes and having good times. We laugh a lot together, like a couple of schoolgirls.
Emma knew my cuisine because she used to come to our restaurant a lot. One year, she asked me to prepare the food for the Sessun Christmas party. From there on, I started cooking for both private and public events for Sessun. I think my tagine, my crème caramel and my fennel salad did a lot for our working relationship - and our friendship. It works both ways - I am crazy about all the silk tops, jackets and shoes she designs. Emma likes taking the people closest to her on board and giving the people she believes in a chance. Her generosity and her sense of sharing are what make her so endearing.
How would you describe your style of cooking ?
When I was living in the UK, I discovered vegetarian food, which was already very popular back in the nineties….and spices, which I have a real passion for. I like mixing flavours from the East and West, I like my food to be a coming together, for it to tell a story. I also have a real thing about meatballs – I love making them in all sorts of different ways. And desserts too – I like my desserts to be nostalgic and packed with flavour. But above, my style of cooking is simple but tasty. It’s not fussy or pretentious. It’s all about sharing food with others and having good times.
You recently closed your restaurant “Le Thé Dans L’Encrier”. What did you get out of this venture ?
It was a fantastic experience….but also hard work. In some ways, it gave me a stamp of approval on my cooking. It was also thanks to Le The Dans L’encrier that I met the amazing people behind the Atelier Buisson-Kessler ceramics studio next door: Pierre Buisson and his parents. Their stunning dishes are the only ones I use now to serve food on.
How do you think up your menus? Where do you find inspiration ?
Cook books, the seasons, local markets, travelling, my friends, my husband, my children, and the general mood. A good dollop of each can give rise to a new menu.
What is your favourite dish and which ingredient do you most enjoy cooking with ?
I adore meatballs, and I have a real thing for Tiramisu. I love cooking vegetables, particularly aubergines and old-fashioned root vegetables such as parsnips and swedes.
Describe your typical day. What does your kitchen look like ?
My typical day is spent in my tiny kitchen, which has been beautifully designed by my husband. Everything is within reach. The oven is constantly on. I have a beautiful view of the countryside from the window. But I have to wear a hideous pair of Crocs because I spend so much time on my feet.
What did you want to be when you were little ?
A cook, of course.
One last question, what are your projects for the future ?
For the second year running, I recently did the catering for the staff and the artists at the Yeah Festival in Lourmarin. I cooked for 400 people over the three days, so I’m looking forward to a bit of a break after that. Hopefully, I’ll continue catering for Sessun on a regular basis, as well as for my private clients who don’t have the time or the energy to cook themselves. I’m also really looking forward to going on holiday this summer and cooking delicious food for my friends.