“What I prefer are the preparations around the stoves, the complicity that is born in this way”

I was brought up with classic family cooking, with hearty dishes that are prepared in advance and are fully shared. I grew up in Marseille, in a bourgeois family that was a bit crazy, with parents who really liked to entertain and party, full of uncles, aunts, cousins. The huge tables, that’s all I have known.

My mother mainly cooked all kinds of meats in sauce, Provençal stew, veal with sorrel, chicken in cream, but also lasagna, quiches, salads. In the fridge, there was always something to nibble on: marinated peppers, anchovies in fillets, anchovy butter, little things that you put on toast or a hard-boiled egg and which almost make a meal. I have always loved it.

Small pleasures of everyday life

My two grandmothers were also famous cooks, one installed next to Martigues, who stuffed us with bottarga (grated in olive oil as an aperitif or in a pasta for the meal) and the other , my mother’s mother, in our neighborhood. Besides, she had moved right next to the school so that all the cousins ​​could come and have lunch at her place rather than going to the canteen. There were often six of us, sometimes more, and she prepared things that everyone liked: pickled onions, tapenade, anchovy, grilled soles… All kinds of little everyday pleasures.

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My grandfather was a doctor at the port, he looked after the fishermen who often gave him fish and lobsters. I remember the cry of the lobsters when my grandmother plunged them into the pot of boiling water… When I think about it, I have only memories in the kitchen, with my mother or my grandmothers. What I prefer is this conviviality, the preparations around the stoves and the worktop, the complicity that is born in this way.

My parents were friends with the painter Gérard Traquandi, and were very interested in contemporary art and design. This is undoubtedly what led me to my profession. When I was 18, I knew I wanted to do creative work. I applied to the Boulle school in Paris and I was taken. Few people knew this environment, I discovered a world. I passed a higher competition in applied arts, furniture designer option. I was immediately better at creating objects of expression than at product development.

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I am very interested inupcycling : I like to observe things around me and work with scrap, reuse old parts, give them a new use, a second life. I do collage, assembly. This is what I did at the Tuba hotel, an old diving center placed on a rock, in the Goudes district: I relied on the history of the existing … This gave a sober place , simple materials, and the time that passes slowly …

After twenty years of living in Paris, we decided, my husband and I, a year ago, to come back to live in Marseille with our daughters. We needed to be closer to our families, we were looking for sun, air, water. I go back and forth to Paris regularly and, in my fridge, I always have a small dish of anchovies waiting for me.

Marion Mailaender’s website