INTERVIEW: Celebrity Chef Roble & Houston Boutique Owner, Carrie Ann SandersThursday, October 09, 2014
Chef Roble was in town for a personal appearance at Carrie Ann Boutique. The Chef, known for creating amazing dishes for the hottest celebs and the President, starting his own catering company and starring in his own reality show, Chef Roble & Co, was in town to celebrate the retail launch of his fragrance Clique. Clique is a women's perfume created by the Chef himself, and the first shop to sell his Clique body line was none other than Houston's own Carrie Ann boutique. Carrie Ann was also celebrating something! The relaunch of her remodeled store! What better way to celebrate a store re-opening than with new merchandise and a celebrity Chef fragrance to boot! I had the opportunity to sit down with Chef Roble and Carrie Ann before the party and get the 4-1-1 on the fragrance and the store remodel. You can watch the interview below or here via YouTube or read the transcribed interview below!
Shasie (S): How did you become interested in being a Chef?
Chef Roble (R): Well, I always liked to eat. It's really that simple. I figured, if I was going to eat well, I had to figure out how to cook well. If you want something done right then do it yourself. I purchased a little cook book at a school fair and that was it. I just stuck with it and now I'm a chef.
S: Congratulations on all of your success! Do you ever get nervous when you work with any celebrity clients or any clients for that matter?
R: Not really. People don’t make me nervous. I don’t get nervous a lot. If I do, it’s probably because circumstances; a delivery is late or something caught on fire. People don’t make me nervous because I'm going to put the same amount of effort into what I do, whether it's me cooking for my girlfriend, cooking for my mom or cooking for the President.
S: That's so amazing that you got to cook for President Obama! That's such an accomplishment! How do you find the balance between what you want to do creatively as a chef versus what your clients are requesting from you?
R: I get to be creative all the time. As a caterer, I'm always doing new things. When you're in a restaurant, you're pretty much doing the same thing every day. That gets pretty boring and redundant and that's why I don’t work in restaurants because it would drive me crazy. My spirit does’t like that. I need to do new stuff. Being in catering I get to work with new clients, new people, do new things, new places and cook new food all the time, and a lot of the times I'm cooking things that I've never cooked before. Somebody might request from me to cook something that I've never cooked before so just in the act of cooking something I've never cooked before that's being creative. I have to figure out how to do this. I have to create this meal. It’s a good time. I like it.
R: Well, I am not going to take credit for it. It wasn't my idea. A couple of guys, one a master perfumer named Frank Voelkl, and there's another gentlemen that I worked with named Bart Schmidt. He's a pro, a veteran in the fragrance industry for over 20 years. He had the idea that a Chef should make a fragrance. He called me and I went down to their offices. They have this huge laboratory. It's like a kitchen! They have all these ingredients; essences, extracts, and oils that they mix together to make fragrances. It's just like cooking. They had me do a blind smell test. They put about 20 things in front of me and I knew what everything was. I would say “That’s cinnamon, that's nutmeg. Oh, that’s tuberose." I work with a lot of these things all the time in the kitchen. Being a chef over the years your palette & your nose gets trained to be able to pick up on scents like that. That's my job. I get to paid to taste stuff at the end of the day.
S: That sounds like a good job!
R: So, it made sense. After I realized how good of a nose and palette that I actually had, it clicked. No pun intended. The fragrance is called Clique with a Q. It clicked in my head: “I really should be doing this”. It happened a little over a year ago and I have been working really hard on it and now today we have Clique by Roble, which is debuting at Carrie Ann Boutique (gives a little bump to Carrie Ann). She's the first retailer in the country to have it. It’s a very lovely perfume. I want you to try it after we are done here.
R: Thank you. I was going for a pyramid, gold and crystals and it all came together.
S: So, did you have a lot of say in the design of the bottle?
R: Yes, Oh yes! I am kind of a pain in the ass when it comes to stuff like that. I was all over everything. I would say “Uh, I think the cap's a little too tall guys”. I was over every little detail. I was very involved.
S: But it's your brand. You want it to represent you and be your best product.
R: Has to be perfect!
S: What was the comparison between putting scents and stuff together for fragrances versus what you do for cooking? Was it easier or harder?
R: Well it was a little harder because there are ingredients in this that I don’t cook with. That would be more of a floralcy. I don’t cook with a lot of flowers, but I do appreciate flowers. We look at flowers and they all have very distinct looks but a lot of them have very distinct aromas. Some of them I like and some of them I don’t like. I thought I didn't like the smell of jasmine, but when I smelled wild jasmine, I actually liked it. There's wild jasmine in here, there's iris, violet and tuberose. So learning to work with the floral part of fragrance was a little bit more difficult.
S: Well I was just going to ask you what the scents were, but you just told us your recipe, and it sounds amazing.
R: It really is a recipe. It’s the first ever fragrance recipe. It’s also built around a couple of my recipes. One is a blood orange margarita, that I had on a menu at a restaurant called Chupacabra. Those notes are in there; the blood orange, the lime, there’s even a little tequila note in there. There’s also a base note which is very dessert like. It's based on a dessert I have called french toast crunch! It's pretty much what is sounds like. (S: uhhh, your making me hungry) It’s pretty much cinnamon, brown butter, toasted honey, white chocolate, hazelnut, and nutella.
S. Sooooo did you cook for the event tonight?
R: No I didn't cook today, I'm sorry. The only thing I cooked up was this right here (Chef Roble shows fragrance).
S. That's ok, we'll take that too! Carrie Ann, can you tell me a little bit of how you were able to collaborate with Chef Roble and bring his fragrance to Houston and be the first store in the country?Carrie Ann (C): I've known Roble since I was probably 10?
R: Since we were kids! Her brother and myself were very good friends for years and years and years. I lived in Houston when I was younger. I'm from New York but I spent quite a few years here before I moved back to New York.
C: I just thought it would be something cool because I've known him a long time. I thought “Why not do something different?" So I called him and said “Hey, want to come to our relaunch party here at Carrie Ann's with your new fragrance?” and he said,"Yes."
R: Like duhhhh, of course! (with laughs and smiles)
C: It goes hand in hand with the clothes
R: It makes sense
S: This is the official launch, then?
R: Yes, it’s not even out yet. Well, it’s available for purchase on the website at cliquebyroble.com but we haven’t gone retail yet, this is the first retail shop that we're in. We're not going to do the big retail push until the holidays, so Carrie has it first.
S: So any plans for any future fragrances or are you going to wait to see how this one does?
R: We will see how this one does. Actually, we do have a couple of fragrances. This is the one that won but we have another one. We widdled it down to two fragrances. We had an event where we invited around 100 woman and had them sample it. This is the one they chose. It was very close the other one is really good too so that's in the back pocket for later.
S: So, whats next for you? Do you plan to do any other industry cross overs?
R: Yes, I have been going back and forth to wine country in California. I'm working on putting together a signature line of wines. Hopefully, that will happen within the next year, year and a half. You know, you can't rush the grapes. They've got to do what they do. Possibly opening a new restaurant...
S: In Houston?R: Not in Houston, yet. Atlanta is looking like a big possibility. There’s a lot of stuff going on. A lot of day time television going on too.
S: Sounds fun. What about you Carrie Ann tell us more about your event tonight that you are hosting?
C: I remodeled the store so its kind of a re-grand opening, re-launch party. It’s still the same vibe but just a little spruced up. I invited everyone to come, it’s going to be really fun. Roble will be here too!
S: Is your dog going to be here?
C: No, there’s too much going on they are on vacation right now.
R: Dogs do vacations? I can’t even get a vacation.