RR: Born in Cagnes-sur-mer, how did the region influence your relationship with food?
LS: I grew up with a grandfather who was a butcher, fond of local cuisine, and my mother was a cook. Both would cook regional specialities with me.
RR: Did you always want to be a chef?
LS: It was a childhood dream to have my own restaurant but I had to gain the necessary experience first. I trained at the top restaurants with talented chefs, like Franck Cerutti, Christian Plumail and Arnaud Poëtte, before I opened my self-titled restaurant, Luc Salsedo, on rue Maccarani in Nice in 2005.
RR: Does every chef dream of a Michelin star?
LS: I think so, even if secretly. My stars have always come from the satisfaction of my customers. Even today, with my Socca Chips® venture, the customer is my engine and his satisfaction my fuel.
RR: You say that Socca Chips® were an “accidental” creation, much like how the Tatin sisters invented the now famous upside down tarte in the 1800s.
LS: It’s true. By fluke Socca Chips® are the result of a happy combination of circumstances. I’ve always been careful not to waste food and one day while reworking a batch of socca at the restaurant, I discovered these chips made from chickpea flour, and this became the first test batch. Some fine-tuning followed, then wine tastings with family, friends and customers ... The feedback was excellent, so my wife, Christine, and I decided to launch the product.
RR: You recently sold your outstanding eatery to focus full-time on developing this socca snack, which you patented, and also launched a website (www.soccachips.com). Do you envision opening another restaurant?
LS: Today my main activity is Socca Chips®. I work with my team to develop production so that we can better meet customer demands on a distribution level. My plan is to gradually build the brand “Les Creations Luc Salsedo”, I have quite a few ideas in mind but all I can reveal at this point is that innovation, tradition, and quality will be the key words in all of our products.
RR: Where can we buy your niçoise chips?
LS: Currently in the Alpes-Martimes, Monaco and the Var but very soon in Marseille, Paris and elsewhere. You can check the always-expanding distribution map on our website to see where you can pick up Socca Chips® near you.
Nice’s culinary heritage can be summed up in one word: socca. Since 1923, this golden-baked chickpea flour pancake has been served at Chez Pipo in Nice at 13 rue Bavastro. Now you can get a taste for Pipo at Terminal 1 at Nice-Côte d’Azur airport.