A childhood in Béarn

« A corner of France where happiness blooms...... ». He may love Paris with its historic districts and hectic pace, but Yves Camdeborde never stays in the city for long before returning to his native south-west, never forgetting his roots... Not in the neighbouring Basque country, with its songs by Luis Mariano that were sung so many times with his mates from Pau rugby team during their memorable post-match celebrations. No, he returns to his beloved Béarn where he was born one winter’s day in 1964. And more particularly he returns to the old city of Pau where his parents, Jean, a Béarnais through and through and Germaine, originally from Morbihan, opened a charcuterie in 1958, directly opposite the Palais des Pyrénées.

Yves Camdeborde - A childhood in Béarn Alongside his two brothers Jean-Marc and Philippe, he grew up in a very happy home, enjoying rugby and school. A year ahead at school, as a teenager he was destined for a great academic future. However, to everyone’s surprise, young Yves decided to stop school at the age of 16: « I didn’t understand any immediate use for school, other than its finality. So I wanted to stop. My parents and teachers found my decision difficult to understand but they accepted it ».

His father immediately impressed on him the importance of having a skill, a career, therefore some sort of training. Yves considered training as a mechanic, or a plumber. But in the end, cooking was his choice. « I have always had fabulous memories of huge family meals at the Hôtel du Commerce that my grandparents managed in Navarrenx (64). These gargantuan feasts lasted four to five hours and around a dozen dishes were served including the famous Navarrenx salmon that my grandmother Marte made, served with béarnaise sauce. I know, now, that these unforgettable memories shaped my culinary culture and my deep-rooted affection for all those occasions around a great table of food. ».