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PODCAST – Father Stéphane Esclef: “Food allows us to create moments of communion”

After working ten years in the kitchens of major hotels, Stéphane Esclef chose to
swap his apron for dawn and dedicate his life to God. An original route (1) that he tells us from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre, of which he is today the rector.

Born into an atheist family in Amiens, Stéphane Esclef was passionate about cooking from an early age. “I lived with my grandmother, we gathered a lot of people around the table and very quickly she asked me to help her. At 8 or 9 years old, I already knew how to organize small meals with ham cones, potatoes with white sauce, or even poured cream… ”, he recalls, a hint of pride in his voice.

→ TO LISTEN. Find all the episodes of “Around the table”, the 4e season of our podcast “Place des religions”

With a BTS in gastronomic cooking in his pocket, Stéphane Esclef began working at the age of 14. Applied and passionate, he became a chef in prestigious hotels such as the Schwarzenberg Palace in Vienna (Austria) or the Royal Monceau in Paris.

“Food is a founding element of all civilization”

In parallel with his job, Stéphane Esclef discovered the Catholic religion during a pilgrimage to Lourdes during his military service. For several years, his faith deepened and he did not hesitate to talk about religion in the kitchen with his colleagues in the brigade.

One day, during a stay in London and a retreat in the Foyer de Charité in Tressaint, Christ addressed him to say: “Let go of your stoves, let go of your knives, follow me and become a priest”. He then decided to enter the seminary, before being ordained a priest in 1996 by Cardinal Lustiger.

→ READ. The Sacred Heart, a church between earth and sky

Today at the head of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre, Father Esclef has however never renounced his first vocation as a chef and likes to play on the parallels between cuisine and spirituality. “Food is a founding element of all civilization. And it is not neutral that God (…) uses what is strongest in our humanity to create moments of communion ”, he analyzes. This former cook has also retained his love for good dishes and even confides in us some of his favorite recipes, such as Cleopatra sole, his great specialty.

Among the other invited personalities: Thierry Marx, two-star chef and follower of Buddhism; Florence Kahn, owner of a Yiddish specialty shop; Djamel Bouhadda, chef of the halal gourmet restaurant Le Médaillon …

A weekly podcast

Every Wednesday from September 29, 8 episodes of season 4 of “Place des religions”, to listen to on the newspaper’s website and app The cross and on all platforms.

→ PRACTICAL. How to listen to podcasts from your smartphone, tablet or computer

To listen to season 4 of the “Place des religions” podcast, subscribe for free on the following platforms: Apple Podcasts – Podcast Addict – Spotify –Deezer – Google Podcasts – YouTube – Castbox

→ TO PLAY BACK. Place des religions, season 1: so be they

→ RE-LISTEN Place des religions, season 2: words from politicians

→ TO PLAY BACK. Place des religions, season 3: the choice of risk

Editor-in-chief: Fabienne Lemahieu. Editorial manager: Clémence Maret. Journalist in the Religion Department: Malo Tresca. Production manager: Célestine Albert-Steward. Director: Clémence Maret. Sound mixing: Gabriel Fadavi. Marketing manager: Laurence Szabason. Graphic identity: Kimi Kimoki and Mathieu Ughetti. Musical creation: Arnaud Forest.


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