Reine and Nadia Sammut, the two chefs at the Auberge La Fenière

One has been a well-known chef for over 40 years. She was awarded a Michelin star in 1995. The other is a culinary instructor and creator of the Free Cuisine Institute Mother and daughter make a happy pair running the kitchen at the Auberge La Fenière, which has recently become the first 100% gluten-free gourmet restaurant. Meeting.
By Mélissa Darré

High-energy women

What are the little everyday things that make you happy?

Reine: Walking into my kitchen and seeing my team at work.

Nadia: Positive thoughts and people's smiles.

Your motto?

R: Live for the moment.

N: There are no problems, only challenges. And for every challenge, there is a solution.

Your favourite time of the day?

R: Noon on the dot, when everything is ready and we're waiting for the first orders.

N: I like getting up in the morning. Every day is a new day.

What is your guilty pleasure?

R: A chunk of runny Camembert, spread on crusty bread!

N: A piece of candy, but gluten-free!

Des femmes énergiques

Photography: José Nicolas

Mediterranean-style cooks

What are your influences?

R: The Mediterranean: the stories and the voyages that are part of it.

N: I've learned from the whole world, especially from my grandmother's French-Tunisian-Sicilian influence. Her grilled vegetables and her lovingly-prepared dishes.

What are your work rituals?

R: I'm a clean freak. I like to look over everything and organize it to make work more efficient.

N: I work with lots of flours: rice, buckwheat, chestnut, quinoa...and I always taste them before starting to cook.

What's your favourite Provençal dish?

R: Bouillabaisse. I love the blend of the soup, the crusty bread, and all the different fish.

N: Pistou soup. It tastes like summer.

What do you wish you had invented?

R: Ferran Adrià's marrow with caviar. I was almost jealous not to have thought of it before he did!

N: Paris-Brest. Since I can't eat traditional dishes because of my gluten intolerance, I make a Paris-Lourmarin, with Camargue rice flour and whipped cream made with almond milk and incorporating pralines.

Your dream job?

R: I wanted to be a dentist, but dental school takes so long. It's also work that involves the mouth (laughs).

N: I'm doing exactly what I wanted to do!

Des cuisinières méditerranéennes
© Benjamin Béchet

Epicureans from Provence

What are the scents and sounds that embody Provence?

R: The scent is anise. And the sound is cicadas. The Moresque under a fig tree and here we are (laughs).

N: The scent is the garrigue. And the sound is turtledoves in the spring.

Which place makes you happy?

R: Here, it's a foretaste of heaven. There's everything here: olive trees, peace, cicadas.

N: Lourmarin is a special place. I got my education and my open mind from its hospitality.

What is a typical gift you might give to a friend from another country?

R: A bottle of olive oil from the property.

N: Olive oil from my place. 

Des Provençales épicuriennes
Photography: José Nicolas

Elegant beauties

What's your vision of feminine beauty?

R: A smile and sparkling eyes are the most important things. After that, it's all in the look.

N: Elegance. My grandmother is still my model for Mediterranean beauty. Until she was 80, she was always beautifully dressed, without going overboard or looking fake.

What's your secret for recharging your batteries?

R: I fast. That cleanses both the body and the soul.

N: A massage. Every time I travel, I get one.

What's your little indulgence to make you feel beautiful?

R: Going to the hairdresser. When I can't, I do it at home.

N: Going to the hairdresser. I like my hair to look nice, so when I have the time, I go!

Des beautystas élégantes
Photography: José Nicolas

Latest articles

Back to the source: the perfect Provencal appetizer

Back to the source: the perfect Provencal appetizer

To extend the summer, what better than to treat yourself to a special shared moment enjoying an appetizer with Provencal flavours? L'Occitane reveals some authentic regional recipes for finger food that your friends and family will love.
5 tips to prolong your tan

5 tips to prolong your tan

After the holidays, do you dream of retaining all the benefits of summer, including the beautiful golden complexion you've gained from lazing in the sun? L'Occitane reveals the right beauty routine to ensure that you glow into autumn.
The most beautiful rooftops in Provence

The most beautiful rooftops in Provence

Perfect for extending the summer, rooftops offer beautiful outdoor terraces where you can relax at any time of day. L'Occitane reveals the best spots in Provence to hit the heights this autumn.