Culinary Profiles

By Margaret Kemp
Parsley?” asks my son the chef.

“Here,” I reply.

“That's not parsley, it's chervil, you gone blind?”

Help! What do I do? At the Avenue President Wilson (Wed-Sat) morning market I've picked up what I thought was flat leaf parsley, have been doing this for weeks. The husband comes in (how come he's only in the kitchen when major catastrophes occur, never when I take out the hot grainy bread, or the Nutella tart from the oven?) “She's a bit confused,” shrugs my son the chef. “What else is new?” says the husband, uncorking the Chateau Pontet-Canet. “Don't look so worried,” says my son the chef. “It's happened to me too.” Phew!

I bet that doesn't happen to Francois Pasteau. His epic L'Epi Dupin is a horrible little salle, in spite of recent redecoration, draughty in winter, suffocating in spring, and full of terminal smokers who only know to exhale. Pasteau's dishes though are mostly magic, original and excellent qualité prix (menu at lunch 17.53 € including glass of wine. Dinner 28.20€ + wine). His herbs are honest and his sweet/sour combinations of, say tatin aux endives caramelises sauce miel and coriander; rable de lapin au gingembre with beetroot and/or sweet potato frits are house classics. It's fair to say that “Pasteauniks” will travel a long way for his far au pruneaux!

L'Epi Dupin is also very highly rated in the Zagat 2002-2003 guide. Tim and Nina Zagat, in town to launch the 5th edition of their excellent guide, delighted the French press with their fluent mastery of the Escoffier's language. “Une guide gastronomique pas comme les autres,” said Le Parisien newspaper. 1812, amateur critics reviewed 937 restaurants, referred to La Tour d'Argent as “the Vatican of haute cuisine” and placed Taillevent, Grand Vefour, Ducasse's Plaza Athenee (where the launch bash took place), Arpege and Lucas Carton at the top. But, as ze Zagats pointed out, “there are hundreds of less well-known addresses which are certainly “worth the detour.” Each address is tested on average 280 times during the year, that way we get an honest opinion!”

April 2002 GaultMillau magazine has mug-shots of Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin on the cover. Inside, all is revealed on the culinary fetishes of “Chichi” et “Yoyo” à table. Did you know Chirac, who went to the Cordon Bleu, prefers beer to wine? Or that Jospin is a Bordeaux wine-loving chocoholic?

Chirac eats chez Faugeron (52 rue de Longchamp, 16th). Aux Charpentiers (10, rue Mabillon, 6th). The Prez orders une tete de veau at Opportun (63 Bd Edgar Quintet 16th). He enjoys L'Ami Louis (32 rue du Vertbois, 3rd) where he shared a bon cote de bœuf with Bill and Hillary. He's less likely to be seen at Beauvilliers (52 rue Lamark, 18th) since March 1997 when he celebrated 41 years of wedded bliss with Bernadette. Owner Edouard Carlier flogged the photos to Paris-Match! For Japanese it's ISSE (56 rue Saint-Anne, 1st) or Chinese, Tong Yen (1bis rue Jean Mermoz, 8th).

Jospin, prefers to recevoir discreetly in his palais on rue de Varenne. Addresses where he has been spotted include La Palette (43 rue de Seine, 6th). L'Assiette chez Lulu (181, rue du Chateau, 16th). Bistrot de Paris (33 rue de Lille, 7th). D'Chez Eux (2 avenue de Lowendal, 7th). He ate there with Helmut Kohl, known for his huge appetite ! Thierry Coué welcomes Jospin at Les Amognes (243 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, 11th) where he always orders tart fraiche aux sardines marineées. Important birthdays and anniversaries are usually spent at Jules Verne (La Tour Eiffel, 2nd floor, 7th) and Le Divellec (107 rue de l'Université, 7th).

May sees publication of A Table avec les politiques, by Etienne de Monpezat & Kathleen Evin (Gallimard/GaultMillau). Gourmet GaultMillau gossip was gleaned from Jospin. Secret de Famille, by Serge Raffy (Fayard, 2001).

L'Epi Dupin
11 rue Dupin. 6th
T: 01 42 22 64 56
Closed weekend & Mon lunch (Metro: Sevres-Babylon)

Copyright © Margaret Kemp




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