Monday, July 27, 2009

MONDAY MARINADE #3: Helene Darroze

Number 3 in this series, and I wanted it to be about a female chef. Not only a female chef, but one who actually carries out her profession according to its job description. So many in the food industry nowadays have migrated to presenting TV shows, writing cookbooks and otherwise doing celebritous (new word) things. I want to feature chefs who cater to the public in restaurants or hotels. If they write the odd book, that's fine, if they appear on TV once in a while, that's fine too, but the main thrust of their career must be catering to the public, not becoming a celebrity.

With that in mind, I had a hard job finding a female chef whose birth data is available. I found one eventually though: Helene Darroze. The name might not be familiar to you or I, unless a passing reader lives within a very high income bracket. This lady, well known in France for her Paris restaurant has recently crossed the English channel to open another in London. It's at the extremely swish Connaught Hotel, which has recently undergone a 70 million pound makeover (that'd be over $100 million at current rates, I guess). Recession? Hmmmm!

Ms Darroze is exactly the kind of chef I'm looking for. She will divide her time between London and Paris, while still caring for her young child, adopted in Vietnam. She has said that it's important for her to be in the kitchen of the restaurant where her name is, so that it is not just "a brand name on the door."

Helene Darroze's father and grandfather were both chefs. She says that she was practically "born in the kitchen". She was actually born on 23 February 1967 in Mont de Marson, Landes, in the south-western area of France. I found her data on a French page of Wikipedia. My schoolgirl French isn't up to translating much of the rest of the page, but this chef's arrival in London last year spawned a slew of newspaper articles. These have afforded some nice detail about this lady.
(Sources linked at end of post.)

Her natal chart, set for 12 noon, in the absence of a time of birth.

Here's a quite different flavour of personality from either Escoffier or Puck ( chefs featured on the past two Mondays.)

There is one clear similarity to Escoffier's chart here though - the opposition of Uranus and Pluto to the cluster of personal planets around their natal Suns. I called this Escoffier's "engine room" in my post. Here's a mini version of his chart.

Helene Darroze obviously has oodles of energy, to keep up a London/Paris commute on a regular basis, as well as being a single mother.

A chef, she has said, "cooks with heart, with personality. A dish is part of ourselves so the way I will cook will be very different from the way Tom Aiken or Gordon Ramsay cook."

I'd say that as well as being something of a human dynamo, Ms Darroze has a soft and intuitive heart coming from her 4 Pisces planets. Her Moon would be in Leo whatever time of birth, and this Leo-ness at her inner core enables her to take center stage in her kitchens. She doesn't "lord it" over her staff as some famous male chefs are said to do though. She calls her staff her "collaborators" and insists on being called "Helene" rather than"chef". This is coming from the emotional intelligence born of Pisces.

There's a Grand Trine in Water signs in her chart. It links Saturn/Venus in Pisces to Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Scorpio. The presence of both Venus and Neptune in this Watery, emotional circuit underlines her artistry and creativity, while Saturn draws in a well-integrated work ethic. Her energy, as well as being reflected in the opposition already mentioned, is further emphasised by natal Mars (the energy planet) in harmonious trine to her Sun.

I think that hers could also easily be the natal chart of an artist or musician. This is where environment and background make a difference. Ms Darroze happened to be born into a family of chefs, her artistry was thus focused towards food, from an early age.

This lady sounds so very different from some celebrity chefs who hit our TV screens. I'm glad!

'Oh, you know, I'm just like anyone else,' says Darroze waving her hand dismissively. She blithely ignores the TV crew and perches on a grey-blue armchair, sitting on the edge of the seat like an attentive schoolgirl. She does not look remotely like the sort of steely, ambitious figure one might expect. She has a ready smile and a delightfully easy manner, recalling those friendly patronnes you find occasionally serving double measures of pastis from behind village bars in rural France. Compact and short, she has cropped peroxide-blonde hair and twinkly eyes. She is sweetly pretty, but I get the impression that such trifles do not especially concern her. Her face is bare of make-up, the grey cardigan she is wearing has a hole in one arm that keeps threatening to unravel each time she moves and she wears little jewellery apart from an enormous gold crucifix that dangles almost all the way down to her navel.






anthonynorth said...

I've never heard of her. But if she's made it to London she's bound to have a cookery programme soon, though :-)

Shawn Carson said...

yes she is definitely a culinary artist. good to see that she seems emotionally centered around her faith in god, and is less of an egomaniac than we see with a lot of successful people. we keep seeing Saturn /Venus signatures in these artists' charts, don't we?

Rossa said...

What you may not know is that she has taken over at The Connaught from another Lady Chef, Angela Hartnett, of Anglo/Welsh/Irish/Italian extraction, sounds

Angela was our first "famous" lady chef because of her connections with Gordon Ramsey and Marcus Wareing. And she has been on TV in Hell's Kitchen with Gordon and was also in the heats of Great British Menu last year. So AN may be right about the future prospects for the Lady Helene.

It's great that some Lady Chefs are getting a higher profile. In my day, late 70s & early 80s it was all male dominated and as it says in Angela's biography her male colleagues didn't think she'd last a week! Who's laughing now.

Go girls!!!

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ Yes, I dare say they'll be making her an offer she can't refuse!

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ Mmmm - Venus Saturn is good - art/work/business/discipline - useful combination! :-)

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ I did come across a reference to Helene's predecessor, Ms Hartnett, Rossa, yes! I thought how good it was to see two women in succession in a highly respected venue.

It does seem to be par for the course that TV will be part of their careers nowadays. I rather hope Helene resists. We shall see!

It's so odd that chefdom has been so male-dominated for so long. I don't understand why.