Inspired by his gut and soul – and the ocean. Farges has travelled far and wide but feels settled on the Portuguese coast
Fortaleza do Guincho
Vincent Farges has travelled the world and has a passionate love of the ocean. Nowadays, he lets not a day pass without his seeing it.
AS A CHILD in France, Vincent Farges always liked to help his mother in the kitchen, peeling vegetables and stirring the pots. He believes his passion was seeded there. He later went on to train in Yssingeaux and Chamalières, near Clermont-Ferrand, before travelling the world, working in places as far flung as Greece, Morocco, Brazil and Thailand, and ultimately settling in Cascais, at the Fortaleza do Guincho, where he is executive chef, conducting Antoine Westermann’s French cuisine. Farges has known Westermann for nearly two decades and shares the same culinary philosophy, making it pleasurable to work together, discussing and exchanging ideas. They work together with a team of 11 cooks and strive to maintain the Michelin star they were awarded in 2001. Farges is keen to stress the importance of good teamwork: ‘A good captain is nothing without a good team.’
One thing on which Farges will not compromise is the quality of the raw produce with which he works. ‘Ingredients should be as fresh and natural as possible, be they fish, vegetables or poultry,’ he says. ‘I enjoy working with small producers who demonstrate a passion for their products. This approach has always worked well wherever in the world I've been and it continues to work here in Portugal as well.’
Farges’s inspiration comes from his gut and soul. He also has an enduring love of the ocean, and not a day goes by without his seeing it. He has no particular preference for meat or fish, although, if it is fish, mullet and wild turbot are his favourites. Although he knows many recipes by heart, he still believes in writing everything down, both good and bad experiments, since ‘the kitchen is an art that requires precision and a high level of accuracy.’
A successful chef, he certainly receives invitations to leave Cascais, but his love for the geography and climate of the region are holding him there for now, as well as the general way of life and his good rapport with his boss and team. ‘There are not many places like Fortaleza do Guincho. My home is here in Cascais,’ he reassures, ‘with my wife and my son.’