Chefs on vacation
Our first meal in Paris is always a picnic. We head to our nearest boulangerie and buy a “baguette tradition,” and load up on cheese at the market. My favourite place to get cheese now is from the food hall of Galeries Lafayette, which has an amazing selection of perfectly ripened cheeses. We’ll usually get a nice bottle of Côtes-du-Rhône to wash it down with.
What do local chefs and cooks do best?
There is an amazing variety of young chefs who trained in fine-dining establishments and have gone on to open their own restaurants and mini-empires—for example, Iñaki Aizpitarte, Adeline Grattard, Bertrand Grébaut, Sven Chartier, Gregory Marchand, to name a few. The cooking styles are so eclectic and personal and give the Paris food scene so much character and richness. Each chef interprets the produce in their own way, and it makes dining there so much fun.
For a quick weekend—just two restaurant lunches and two dinners—where would you go?
Pierre Hermé for a dessert lunch: I’d get the Ispahan croissant (maybe two), an assort-
ment of his macarons (white truffle and hazelnut, passion fruit and milk chocolate are my faves), the infiniment vanille tart. Clown Bar for innovative bistro cooking— it’s fun and casual and quirky. Le Baratin features soulful cooking by the queen of bistro food, Raquel Carena. Her sweetbread dish is one of the best offal dishes I’ve had in my life, a whole veal sweetbread seared and basted with butter, served on a bed of sautéed seasonal vegetables. The place has very interesting natural wines chosen by her husband. And L’Astrance— Pascal Barbot is one of the best chefs of his generation. He totally turned three-star dining on its head with a tiny, ingredientfocused, tasting-menu-only restaurant.
Brûlerie Saint Roch at 53 rue Saint Roch. It’s an old-school coffee shop, timeless and Parisian, friendly owner, standing room only. The price of an espresso has not changed in five years—no latte art here!
BASSIN DE LA VILLETTE ALONG QUAI DE LA SEINE