Lara Fabian marked us all with her role as director at Star Academy. She guided the academicians with all the benevolence for which she is known. His book I go to the table is much more than a biography, it describes his professional and personal journey around meals and tables that marked his life. It was during my visit to the Manoir de Waterloo for a nutrition workshop offered to academicians that I was able to talk to this luminous woman. Meet this lover of the pleasures of the table!
You just launched a book inspiring that tells both your story, your journey and the key recipes attached to it, ranging from baby pasta (with pecorino cheese) to your mom’s osso buco. How did the idea for such a book come about?
An idea of doing a biography based solely on my career did not sufficiently reflect who I am now. I had a checkered life, each time I evoke happy memories, they are related to the pleasures of the table. I found it more fun to offer a book that describes my professional and personal life through culinary experiences and encounters that marked my memories. The recipes in the book also reflect my life in Sicily and the comforting recipes of Mum Luisa, my stay in Tunisia with my mother-in-law at the time, Madeleine, or even my good years in Russia. French comedy pancakes, Tunisian fish couscous, blinis, salmon caviar are recipes that reflect my life experiences.
You mention an eating disorder that has been present in your life for 7 years, after consulting several resources, is your Japanese friend the one who allowed you to rediscover the pleasure of eating?
At the age of 29, I developed a complex eating disorder. I weighed and measured everything and could eat just one apple a day, taking care to cut it into quarters so I only ate one at a time. I suffered from both anorexia and bulimia for years. If some comments about my physique triggered my eating disorder, it probably started earlier, with girlish pains resurging years later. I later realized that this disorder was fueled by the fact that food was the only thing I could control at the time. My Japanese friend, Masayo, who runs a tea room in Paris, was a lifeline for me. With his small dishes of great delicacy, I started eating again, very small quantities at a time. And this meeting plunged me back into my love of the table. I rediscovered this beautiful relationship with food. My love-hate relationship with food lasted several years, but I finally found harmony thanks to Masayo.
Your eating disorder began with comments received about your physique. What would you say today to young people who receive such comments and who are excessively concerned about their weight and their image?
Fortunately, times have changed, the era of the Barbie is well and truly over. From now on, we welcome you if what you deploy is in harmony with you. My advice to young people would be to keep cultivating what makes them feel good. Body diversity on screen and in the arts can only promote better self-esteem!
How did an Italian woman’s daughter handle being diagnosed with gluten sensitivity?
I suffered from several inflammatory disorders without knowing the reason and life put a geneticist gastroenterologist in my path who immediately suspected this intolerance! If the meeting was extraordinary for my health, I had to make a difficult mourning for everything I loved: pasta, bread, desserts that colored my childhood in Sicily. At the time, gluten-free foods were really not good and I was really sad to have to let go of the foods that permeated my food culture. I was resilient and was finally able to find excellent gluten-free breads and pastas. My daughter Lou has developed a strong interest in baking and, thanks to her, I now enjoy gourmet gluten-free desserts. Tiramisu with gluten-free finger biscuits, rice flour sponge cake, cheesecake without cooking… small pleasures allowed without compromise for the taste!
How do you adapt your diet during the tours?
I’m very disciplined when I’m on tour, that’s how I perform best. I never drink alcohol when I’m performing, I love wine, but I save it when not on tour. On the road, I bring myself lots of little things: bananas, almonds and dark chocolate in particular, just to be able to have snacks regularly. I also take green juice in the morning. I will often opt for a chicken breast that I complete with vegetables that I buy at the grocery store (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers). I avoid fast food chains, that’s how I feel best about my musical performances.
Your best advice for performing well on stage in terms of food?
Everyone is different, but personally I eat four hours before a performance. I eat mostly slow carbs (like brown rice) with some protein. I take small portions that are easily digested and that’s how I feel better on stage.
Overall health is important to you. What are your strategies in terms of healthy lifestyle despite a crazy schedule?
I’m less disciplined right now with the lack of time related to filming, but being in good shape is important to me because it allows me to age in good health. Eating well and being active are part of my lifestyle and the pleasure of cooking and sharing a meal is part of my core values.
To discover Lara’s story with the people who have marked both her life and her culinary inspiration, I go to the table is an attractive work that immerses us in the world of an authentic international artist who cultivates the love of the table for our greatest pleasure!