Interview with Thibaud Villanova, aka Gastronogeek
After recipe books inspired by Asterix, Dragon Ball or even Disney, chef Thibaud Villanova, originally from Chartres, publishes a brand new book straight from the world of Zelda video games. Food for Christmas.
Festival of Lights 2022 in Lyon
Since 2014, Gastronogeek is the signature title of Thibaud Villanova. At first, this was the concept of his invention in the first place: it was to bridge the gap between pop culture and cooking. Whenever Chartrain watches a movie or plays a video game, he identifies the foods the characters taste and then recreates them in his own unique way. The goal is to introduce readers to the imaginations that fascinated him from his youth.
In total, as a chef, he wrote 18 works inspired by universesHarry Potter, Star Wars or Assassin’s Creed. signs another at the end of 2022, Zelda kitchen, published by Hachette Hero. The script was inspired by the video game of the same name, which tells the story of the blonde hero Link’s quest to free the kingdom of Hyrule and its princess from the clutches of the evil lord Ganon.
Thibaud Villanova offers a journey through the kitchens of different villages of the empire through Gourmet, a character beyond his imagination. All are presented in the form of a collector’s item, where each page is thought out to the smallest detail: colors, materials and even photographs, taken in the woods before summer to catch the most beautiful light. We believe in it.
I discovered this game when I was 6-7 years old. An uncle of mine came home from a trip abroad with a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Link’s Adventure, the second part of the saga. The game was in English, but I really liked the gold plated booklet, box and cartridge.
Then I got a Gameboy and a new Zelda this time in French! This game has been with me ever since and punctuated my teenage years and then my young adulthood. I remember taking my patent the day I graduated Ocarina of Time In 1998. I go to concerts, exhibitions, I order albums with original soundtracks not released in France… This is important for me, my personal culture.
When I watch a movie or series, I see iconic dishes, then I recreate them and teach you how to make them at home so that you can immerse yourself in the universe. In Breath of the Wild, a game released in March 2017, features 84 recipes that can be made virtually from just a few ingredients. Me, I analyzed these recipes and chose the most iconic one. I looked at what the end result looked like and then used my knowledge and techniques in the kitchen to achieve it.
It’s pretty weird, it’s confusing. There are Japanese inspirations because the video game comes from there, such as onigiris, rice balls or vegetable stews. Additionally, each person in the game has a different status: Gerudos they are desert warriors, so we will have a cuisine close to the Maghreb. On the other hand, there is a nation that lives in water. We will work more on Nordic cuisine there. He travels a lot.
There are two: cocot Ocarina of Time. It’s made with miso oil and spices, which I rub between the skin and meat of the chicken to roast. Another recipe I really like comes from the same game: a princess cake with cream and fruit.
I thought of it as a journey. I created the image of a Gourmet who travels from village to village to cook and share recipes. Each chapter is a different place: the opening pages are the cards of the game. The point is to be able to make it somewhat “meta”, that is, if readers decide to follow it along the way, they will be able to do so. finding the ingredients that allow us to prepare the recipes we see in the book and above all they will see the panoramas and share the same gaming experience as me.
We tried to create a book The Legend of Zelda. The book is unofficial, we didn’t use any images from the license and so we redid everything ourselves with my small team. I wrote the recipes, then we did a lot of work on them mood board to repeat the same decorations. We worked with costume designers from the Paris Opera, for example glassblowers for the vials, and film set designers to give the reader a real immersion.
All my life. In 2020, we set up crowdfunding: it was set at 35,000 euros, in the end we collected 486,000, which allowed us to work with many artists who love the world of Zelda to create a beautiful object. Funding closed in February and we delivered 7,000 books to staff in November, along with a large number of books. gifts like beautiful illustrations and a soundtrack specially composed for the event by Amandine Robilliard.
It was two years ago, meanwhile, we had many applications from people who had lost their financial opportunities. Hachette Heroes bought the rights, we reworked the book, it’s in bookstores now. When the final opus of the game comes out in May 2023, I will dedicate a special program to it on my Twitch channel. Sets, costumes and props created for the cookbook will be used. After that, the Zelda loop will be closed for me. I have achieved one of my life goals.
Zelda Meals by Thibaud Villanova (Hachette Heroes, 192 pages, €35)