Pure Joy Executive Chef
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Auvers sur Oise, a small town on the outskirts of Paris. It’s best known for being the town where Van Gogh died. Because of that, there is a lot of Van Gogh art all over the town, and the area is known for being an artists’ complex. That’s actually the reason why my father fell in love with Auvers sur Oise. My father was an artist by trade and decided to settle our family there after moving around a lot in prior years. Growing up all of my neighbors were also painters and sculptors.
Why were you drawn to culinary as a career path? My father looked at cooking as an art, and it was something that he was very passionate about and practiced every day. In fact, he was a crazy passionate person in everything that he did. I have wanted to be a chef since I was six because of watching him express himself in the kitchen. My father passed away when I was 10, and my career in the culinary arts was a way to continue to feel close to him and to be able to carry on that passion in his place.
What brought you to California? I look at myself not as French, but as multicultural, a citizen of the world. I was born in France, but my father was Argentinian, my mother is Swedish, and my grandfather was American. Because of this, I was born with dual citizenship, and when the opportunity arose for me to move to Florida to work as a sous chef at the Epcot center, I jumped at the opportunity to have a new adventure outside of France. After working in Florida for a number of years, I was drawn to California. This was mostly because of the temperate weather and excellent produce here on the West Coast, which makes me so happy.
How did you start working at Pure Joy? I worked at the Rosewood Hotel for about a year and a half as a chef de partie. When I decided it was time to start looking for new opportunities, I picked up some shifts at Pure Joy as a server, and then of course found my way into the kitchen for a few events. I actually got hired at another full-time job, and let PJC know I wouldn’t be able to work with them anymore. Lynette [PJC owner] asked me to come in to talk to her, and basically made me an offer to stay with Pure Joy that I could not refuse!
What is it like to work at Pure Joy? It’s very challenging for me but in a good way. I love learning, so it’s very cool to constantly be doing things I have never done before in my work here. I'm also so grateful for the other team members we have. I always have an opinion, and sometimes I feel like that will come off as annoying, but I’ve found that people here like that I am so opinionated. It’s so rare to find people who I can talk openly with at work, and we can always talk through and resolve issues when we have conflict.
How do you stay motivated while working such long hours during events season? I honestly love working, so long hours have never been a problem for me. I feel at home when I am working, and when I am in the kitchen I feel more at ease than I do anywhere else. The freedom to work long hours was actually something that was missing in my last job. I like being able to come in whenever I want. If I have an idea, I am able to follow through with it and really take my time in working it out. We’ll see what I can do to keep myself busy in the off-season.
What do you do on your days off? Drawing, walking, chilling, trying to really rest after a crazy week. I do actually cook and bake on my days off. I don’t think I will ever get sick of cooking, to be honest. I just love it, and love to share my food with others. One of the reasons I started cooking is because everyone needs to eat. It unites all of us-- everyone loves good food, whether it’s cheap or expensive. I just love seeing people gathered around a table and enjoying the food that I have cooked for them, and being able to express my personality through food.
If you were a cocktail, what would you be and why? A margarita, obviously, because that’s my name! On top of that, I love tequila and a good balance between sweet and sour (which is also the perfect way to describe my personality).
A note from the Executive Chef, Lynette La Mere:
I was talking with my son about how difficult it has been to find the right person to train to eventually take over my Executive Chef role. I have spent years hiring and firing & was just very frustrated. My son said, "just find yourself 30 years ago". I laughed, I've been trying to for a decade! Well, I've done just that! Marguerite is brilliant, passionate, ambitious, creative & eager to learn - just like me LOL! She loves the food, the farmer's, and the crazy fabulous art of special event catering. It's wonderful to pass the whisk to another woman and watch her work her magic.