IN CONVERSATION WITH:
| Founder of Maison Balzac |
This month we say hello to the amazing Elise Pioch, founder of Maison Balzac, one of our favourite brands for all things candles, glassware and homewares. Having grown up in a small village in the South of France, at the age of 28 Elise decided to adventure to Australia for what was mean’t to be for 3 months, has now been 18 years. We are excited to share Elise’s wisdom, inspiration and dinner party dishes with you all.
Having grown up in France can you tell us a little about your childhood and when did ‘Elise the creative’ start to emerge?
I had a ridiculously happy childhood in a small village in the south of France, surrounded by nature and family. All our spare time was spent barefoot playing with bees, befriending fishes in small ponds, picking figs and apricots… My parents are also very creative so from the very first day of my life I was taught how to look at things differently and how to express my own imagination.
I was 28, I had lived in Paris for 4 years and was bored to be French in the French capital. It was all too French! I really wanted to explore the world, escape the city, have a passport for the first time and get out of Europe for the first time too! Initially I just wanted to improve my English and go as far from Paris as I could. There was no English speaking country further than Australia… so I came here for 3 months. After that time I decided to live here and it’s been 18 years now!
What does a morning in your house hold look like, paint use a picture?
We wake up as late as we can, we rush to eat breakfast, rush to dress and then we rush to school and finally I get to work to have a sticky chai tea and enjoy work with my team. Our mornings during the week are not ideal so we slow right down on the weekend, take 2 hour long breakfast, watching the water and wildlife…
You have such a beautifully individual and unique style, where do you draw inspiration from for your collection?
I think each of us has an imaginary world in our head and each of us has her/his own taste. What you see in my collections is an expression of my personal world, a mix between childhood eccentricity, my dreams and my passion for antique and design throughout the centuries. I also often close my eyes and remember the homes and objects of my grand parents and parents in the 80’s and 90’s, this is an immense source of inspiration.
What is the greatest advice you have received over the years?
My favourite two advices have been: “start, even if it’s not perfect” and “always listen to your intuition”.
At NOMAD supporting local makers and sourcing ethically is something that we feel very passionate about, how does sustainability play a role within your creative process?
As a visceral lover of nature, I run the business with the constant desire to minimise pollution. We try to minimise as much plastic as possible (all our packaging are made of recyclable paper, cardboard, corn beans, we have bubble wrap around some glassware but haven’t found a better solution to transport these fragile items safely, but working on it!) and we are introducing a new range made of eco bamboo materials that can decompose when buried under wet soil for some time. All our glassware, candles, incense, waxes either completely disappear or can be recycled, this is the least we can do for the planet.
Your favourite restaurant to date, can be anywhere in the world?
I love good food and most of my happy memories are linked to meals… My 3 most memorable restaurant meals have been to Oscillate Wildly in Newtown/Australia (they matched the music to the dishes!), Compartir in Cadaques/Spain and The Fat Duck in London/UK.
When choosing a dining experience what is important to you?
The people I go with influence the pleasure I get out of it; then the interior decoration and lighting means a lot and of course the menu, the way each dish is described.
What NOMAD dish can the team at Maison Balzac not live without?
To name a few, the MB team love your wood fired flat bread with burrata and the fried green olives with preserved tomato! And our drink of choice of course, 2020 Patrick Piuze ‘Blanchots’ Grand Cru Chablis.
You’re hosting a dinner party at your house, what are you serving up food and drink wise?
I like to prepare everything a long time before guests arrive, this way I can be with them fully, as opposed to stressing and sweating over my stove while they drink champagne! My ideal menu is oysters with mignonette, boeuf bourguignon with gratin dauphinois, cheese platter and poached pears with dark chocolate sauce! I dress the table in the morning, looking at the fully decorated table all day extends the pleasure of the dinner party. I love expecting guests!!! Drink wise I like to offer Champagne (Alaya, Roederer), White wine (Vouvray) or Red (Leon Barral).
What are you reading right now?
I am reading the life of Calder.
You have three wishes, what are they?
1 . Spend one more day with my late grand parents (Jeanine and Andre Balzac)
2. The whole world speaks one same language
3. Homemade waffles with Nutella and whipped cream for breakfast lunch and dinner becomes the norm
You have an amazing brand, a beautiful family, at the end of the day what does ‘success’ look like to you?
This is so kind of you to say that, thank you! I don’t often stop and appreciate what I’ve created but you are right, I am very proud of Maison Balzac, my husband and daughter. To me, success is to remain honest, passionate, humble, to give back, to share and to enjoy all the things that exist now thanks to all the hard work and determination.