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Star chef helps startup make posh ready meals

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Pic holds two stars for her Lausanne's restaurant. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
10:33 CET+01:00
Top French chef Anne-Sophie Pic, who runs a Michelin-starred restaurant at Lausanne's Beau-Rivage Palace, is collaborating with a Swiss start-up to create a line of gourmet ready-meals.

The chef, who was named the World’s Best Female Chef in 2011 by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, has teamed up with former Nestlé executive Jonathan Pennella, who is developing the concept through his start-up Nutresia, reports Le Tribune de Geneve.

Not unlike the idea of coffee capsule machines developed by Swiss company Nestlé and its offshoot Nespresso, Pic’s ready-meals come in vacuum packed sachets and require cooking in a specially designed machine, which can cater for six people at once.

Retailing at 229 francs, the machine is described as a cross between a bain-marie and a steam cooker and can be programmed to cook individual elements of a dish at different temperatures.

The 30 dishes in Pic’s range are divided into three categories, from everyday dishes to haute cuisine, and cost from 7.50 francs to 22 francs for a portion.

The project has taken four years of research and 25 million francs to develop, according to the Tribune de Genève.

Developing a line of ready-meals may seem like an odd move for a three-star chef, but speaking during an interview with the newspaper, Pic said: “Putting my name to a line of cooked dishes was always off the table for me before, but with this, it’s the innovation that attracted me.”

Saying that gastronomy “must adapt to our constantly changing way of life”, Pic acknowledged the role of instant food in today’s society.

“Nespresso, for example, has helped raised the general quality of the coffee that we drink in France,” she said.

“Since it launched, we’ve become a country of coffee shops, whereas previously we weren’t. That then pushed artisans into the market.”

Pic's family have run the three-star Maison Pic restaurant in Valance, France for three generations.

In 2009, Anne-Sophie Pics opened her eponymous restaurant at the prestigious Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, an establishment which holds two Michelin stars.

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