February 2016

Ai Kawana

  • Her rum baba with pear is a pure blessing


 la mirande NB

On her way from Japan to the Mirande in Avignon, Ai Kawana passed through the kitchens of some great restaurants such as the Michel Chabran in Pont-de-l’Isère and the Chabichou in Courchevel. «I arrived in France in 2001,» says the young lady from Yokohama. «It was the boss of a traditional Chinese restaurant who introduced me to the delicacies of French gastronomy.» Ai is an imaginative cook who destructures her pêche Melba by adding a little pulled sugar and accompanying it with a vanilla ice and raspberry coulis sushi. She makes a graceful reinterpretation of the Mirande’s puffed rice and raspberry bavarois «crystal tower» with aloe vera and fresh raspberry salad and rose or poppy sorbet. She works closely with Jean-Claude Aubertin. It was he who taught her the restaurant’s classic rum baba. «I leave her totally free to interpret it,» says the chef. Blending Asian and Western influences and keen to always match the season, Ai Kawana has dreamed up a version with pear and pear brandy from the Manguin distilleries on the nearby island of Barthelasse. «I only work with fresh fruit,» she says. «It’s a winter dessert, and it’s now part of the Mirande’s heritage.» It’s whispered that Mme. Stein, the owner of this fine Avignon townhouse, adores Ai Kawana’s rum baba with pear. And she’s not alone!.


4 place de l’Amirande,

84000 Avignon
Tél. 04 90 14 20 20

Par Pierre Psaltis