Luz Editions at the heart of the kitchen with Aurore in Lisbon

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux

There are several shared passions between Luz Editions and Aurore Hainaux. The main one is undoubtedly the deep love for bringing people together through food and and the beautiful pieces that adorn the table and kitchen.

Join us as we delve into her inspiring narrative of reinvention and culinary mastery in Lisbon...

 

1. Tell us your story, who is Aurore Hainaux?

'I was born at 4 a.m., which is why my name is Aurore. It's a name I’ve grown to love more and more, especially since moving to Portugal, where I'm called Aurora. That final "A" changes everything; it rewrites who I want to be.

Up until 2013, I was Aurore in Bordeaux, where I had already opened several doors. After studying modern literature and communications, I became a music publicist. My love for music has never left me; I listen to a wide variety of sounds daily, staying curious about today's productions, and I love to dance.

After the birth of my son Samuel in 2006, I decided to learn to cook. I had been waiting for this moment for a long time but didn't know when it would happen. I enrolled in a hospitality school, did internships, and launched my catering business while working for another female caterer, Christel Désile, to whom I owe a lot.

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux

©CharlotteValade

In Lisbon, I restarted a catering business called simply Catering Lisboa. Since the word "traiteur" doesn’t exist in Portuguese, I use the English word, pronounced in a French way, while waiting to invent a new term. I also ran the Cantina Minúscula in Campolide, a small, almost private space where I cooked and served five lunches a week for two and a half years. Around a large communal table, I hosted about ten people daily. It was a joyful, creative, and light-hearted time. Then, COVID.

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux
©CharlotteValade

I spent the two pandemic years learning to make cheese. My first experience was in Serra da Estrela with Ana Teresa Matos, an activist shepherd who replants dozens of burned hectares with acorns and other native tree seeds. With her herd of about fifteen sheep, she roams the moor, producing raw milk cheese, Serra da Estrela DOP.
I also worked at the Ortodoxo cheese dairy in Setubal, where I learned to make a French-style goat cheese with a geotrichum rind that gives the cheese its flavor. I traveled to Ardèche and Mayenne to refine my skills and work with the herds. After the pandemic, I resumed my catering activity'.

2. What inspired you to pursue your passion for cooking and make it your profession in Lisbon?

'My first trip to Lisbon was in a Ford Fiesta in 1999. The second was by the night train from Hendaye to Lisbon in 2009. Inevitably, in 2013, after the birth of my second son Joaquim, I arrived in Lisbon in a moving truck.

Lisbon has always been a land of light for me, a somewhat gritty version of great cities with a flamboyant past, with the fantasized presence of Brazil as an extension. But what makes Lisbon special are the Portuguese people.

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux

©CharlotteValade
The primary inspiration comes from the contrasts between the vast brightness of the Tagus River, the sky, and the city with the darkness of the tiny tascas where the Portuguese eat the same dishes 365 days a year. It's the contrast between this secular immobility and a space where everything can be created. Lisbon has become a place where anything is possible if you are creative, curious, and patient. It's the contrast between the simplicity with which the Portuguese grill fish "escalado" and the myriad ways to enjoy a simple coffee in a bar.
Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux
©CharlotteValade

Since cooking is a "universal language," even before mastering Portuguese, I could express myself through it. Naturally, I wanted to continue my catering business. I took the time to learn the basics of Portuguese cuisine, like cooking octopus and squid, spicy sauces, and mirandesa. I have mastered the rare but no less easy recipe for bacalhau verde with a coriander béchamel. I also have a salad version of bacalhau à Gomes de Sá that the French love.

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux
©CharlotteValade

What's inspiring in Lisbon is the availability and quality of fresh products. The many nationalities living here make it easier to find zaatar, Thai basil, or delicious mangoes than elsewhere in Europe. Here, you can open a Jewish or Moroccan cookbook without struggling to find ingredients'.

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux
©CharlotteValade

3. How would you describe the evolution of your work over time?

'It's like breathing, a body in motion striving to maintain a continuous rhythm. Not easy. Catering is a tiring job. There's the market, the orders, the handling, the deliveries, the organization, and the time spent making proposals to clients. And above all, the kitchen work, which I prefer and prioritize. It's where my breathing calms, and my body and mind focus on the present moment. Cooking is immediate.

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux

©CharlotteValade

For a long time, I offered my services to various businesses, worked a lot, diversified my offerings, prices, and menus. Today, I want to cook dishes that please me, with sought-after flavors, varied vegetables, and colors. I want to cook for lively tables where people let themselves be carried by the arriving dishes without wondering if they'll take photos and post them on Instagram'.

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux
©CharlotteValade

4. What services do you currently offer?

'I recently developed a concept of weekly boxes with 3 to 4 days of meals for families who don't have the time or desire to cook. These are family-friendly, tasty dishes, easy to reheat, and meant to be placed in the middle of the table as if homemade: roast chicken, gratins, lasagnas, couscous, fruit tarts, soups, tiramisu, quiches… lots of vegetables. This project grows mainly through word of mouth. I send the menu every Thursday, people confirm over the weekend, and the boxes are delivered to homes on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Additionally, I continue catering for special events: festivals, photo shoots, vernissages, and private dinners. Beyond culinary work, I prioritize table arts. I love beautiful presentations and flowers. I collect old dishes and silver cutlery. I like simple, mismatched, and colorful tables, old linen tablecloths, and dripping candles'.

5. What lessons have you learned along the way that you would like to share with those looking to develop their own projects or businesses?

'The key to developing a project is ensuring it always aligns with the original values so that work remains a pleasure and that joy is reflected in the work done. Work with heart, even if it sometimes drives you crazy! Listening to others, clients, and collaborators is essential. Although a project like mine is primarily an individual adventure, without the interest my close ones, friends, and clients have shown, I wouldn't have been able to evolve and progress. Others also nourish me. Knowing how to question oneself is part of life's lessons in general.

Sometimes, you don't know which direction to take, you're indecisive, you want to move things immediately, waiting for answers, quotes taking time, some projects falling through, you can always do better, and no one is indispensable. So, it's essential to return to breathing, the breath within us. I love this phrase by Alain Bashung in the song "Tel", which says, "In the future, let come, let the evening wind decide." I'll let you to meditate on that'.

6. How did you discover Luz Editions? In what way do you feel connected to the brand? How do its values align with your work?

'I met Paula Franco in 2015; she was looking for a caterer for her wedding with Antoine. From client/provider, we became next-door neighbors and then friends. I closely follow her projects, her collaborations with certain artists, and I also have the chance to see prototypes come to life, give my opinion, accompany her on visits to artisans, or open my apartment for photo shoots.

The Luz brand is Paula; it’s her personal adventure with the initial intention of giving visibility and utility to beauty, simplicity, and meaning to everyday objects. She looked at Portugal with much love and respect for this country's craftsmanship and traditions. Thanks to Luz Editions, we rediscovered this Portuguese photographer, Artur Pastor, whose discreet but strong black-and-white work had almost fallen into oblivion. For me, it's Luz's flagship project because these nostalgic and sincere photos, now printed on woven linen, make a delicate object that can be both a wall hanging, towel, or napkin. It's the product I recommend because it's the one I use daily. A quality fabric that dries quickly and leaves no traces when wiping glasses, for example'.

Interview Luz Editions with Aurore Hainaux
'Fé' & 'Meu Pai' Tea Towels from Luz Editions

7. For those interested in your services, how can they contact you? What is the best way to discover and savor your culinary delights?

'To see my work, there’s an Instagram page: click here.
To contact me: aurore@cateringlisboa.pt.
To savor my delights, come eat at my house, it's just across from Paula!

In parting, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Aurore for her inspiring journey and daily culinary magic, reminding us to savor life's flavors with passion and creativity.

Merci Aurora !

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