Reine and Nadia Sammut, the two chefs at the Auberge La Fenière

One has been a well-known chef for over 40 years. She was awarded a Michelin star in 1995. The other is a culinary instructor and creator of the Free Cuisine Institute Mother and daughter make a happy pair running the kitchen at the Auberge La Fenière, which has recently become the first 100% gluten-free gourmet restaurant. Meeting.
By Mélissa Darré

High-energy women

What are the little everyday things that make you happy?

Reine: Walking into my kitchen and seeing my team at work.

Nadia: Positive thoughts and people's smiles.

Your motto?

R: Live for the moment.

N: There are no problems, only challenges. And for every challenge, there is a solution.

Your favourite time of the day?

R: Noon on the dot, when everything is ready and we're waiting for the first orders.

N: I like getting up in the morning. Every day is a new day.

What is your guilty pleasure?

R: A chunk of runny Camembert, spread on crusty bread!

N: A piece of candy, but gluten-free!

Des femmes énergiques

Photography: José Nicolas

Mediterranean-style cooks

What are your influences?

R: The Mediterranean: the stories and the voyages that are part of it.

N: I've learned from the whole world, especially from my grandmother's French-Tunisian-Sicilian influence. Her grilled vegetables and her lovingly-prepared dishes.

What are your work rituals?

R: I'm a clean freak. I like to look over everything and organize it to make work more efficient.

N: I work with lots of flours: rice, buckwheat, chestnut, quinoa...and I always taste them before starting to cook.

What's your favourite Provençal dish?

R: Bouillabaisse. I love the blend of the soup, the crusty bread, and all the different fish.

N: Pistou soup. It tastes like summer.

What do you wish you had invented?

R: Ferran Adrià's marrow with caviar. I was almost jealous not to have thought of it before he did!

N: Paris-Brest. Since I can't eat traditional dishes because of my gluten intolerance, I make a Paris-Lourmarin, with Camargue rice flour and whipped cream made with almond milk and incorporating pralines.

Your dream job?

R: I wanted to be a dentist, but dental school takes so long. It's also work that involves the mouth (laughs).

N: I'm doing exactly what I wanted to do!

Des cuisinières méditerranéennes
© Benjamin Béchet

Epicureans from Provence

What are the scents and sounds that embody Provence?

R: The scent is anise. And the sound is cicadas. The Moresque under a fig tree and here we are (laughs).

N: The scent is the garrigue. And the sound is turtledoves in the spring.

Which place makes you happy?

R: Here, it's a foretaste of heaven. There's everything here: olive trees, peace, cicadas.

N: Lourmarin is a special place. I got my education and my open mind from its hospitality.

What is a typical gift you might give to a friend from another country?

R: A bottle of olive oil from the property.

N: Olive oil from my place. 

Des Provençales épicuriennes
Photography: José Nicolas

Elegant beauties

What's your vision of feminine beauty?

R: A smile and sparkling eyes are the most important things. After that, it's all in the look.

N: Elegance. My grandmother is still my model for Mediterranean beauty. Until she was 80, she was always beautifully dressed, without going overboard or looking fake.

What's your secret for recharging your batteries?

R: I fast. That cleanses both the body and the soul.

N: A massage. Every time I travel, I get one.

What's your little indulgence to make you feel beautiful?

R: Going to the hairdresser. When I can't, I do it at home.

N: Going to the hairdresser. I like my hair to look nice, so when I have the time, I go!

Des beautystas élégantes
Photography: José Nicolas

www.aubergelafeniere.com

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