Buzz: Eric Guerin

Buzz: Eric Guerin

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It takes guts to invite someone into your kitchen, let them
run wild with your new pianos, impose their ideas on your territory.
Frankly I can’t stand anyone just touching my Magimix, but then my
name’s not Alain Ducasse!

problem is that during my travels, wherever I go, I keep hearing that
French cuisine is no longer creative”, reflects Ducasse from the
kitchens of the Relais Plaza, Paris, as he launched his latest concept,
Fou/Food de France. “I always speak out loud and clear that I totally
disagree with this negative attitude, in my opinion we eat better in
France today, than ever”. Ducasse says that the regional influences of
French chefs are to be found world-wide. “There are super-talented
young chefs working with terrific enthusiasm to ensure French
gastronomy continues”, he finds, and he should know, he employs and
trains enough of them.

“For them, as for me, le gout
(taste) is an eternal discovery, renewed daily. Le gout is a voyage,
the destination, the future”, observes Ducasse. “There are excellent
restaurants all over the world, Paris, New York, London, but also in
tiny little known provincial villages, where it’s possible to eat
fantastic food, created by passionate young turks”, he insists. And
it’s not just the chefs, “behind every successful young talent are the
products, each chef has a multitude, but each chef has one chou-chou, a
producer, that he prefers”.  With Fou/Food de France, the chefs,
from various regions in France, are invited to the Relais Plaza to
cook, under the watchful eye of the Relais’ Executive chef Philippe
Marc, and his team. They stay for 15 days, accompanied by his/her local
producer of choice, say, foie gras, vegetables, boulangerie, pastry,

So, throughout the run of Fou/Food
de France, Monday lunch at the Relais Plaza will be carte blanche for
the young chef (they’re all under 40, all run their own canteens) to
compose his plats. One of the dishes then stays for 15 days for Relais
Plaza guests to taste. A celeb jury composed of the likes of Carole
Bouquet, Alain-Dominique Perrin, Alain Ducasse, Georges Blanc, Marc de
Champérard, Francois Delahaye (Director General of the Plaza) plus
journalists and various foodies will deliver the verdict. And it ain’t
over until it’s over.

and get a table, the event lasts through 15 December, the first one
stars Eric Guerin, definitely a name to remember. Guerin runs a picture
perfect neo-rustic auberge in the heart of the marshes of la Grande
Briere, think Venice of the Loire Atlantique, it’s on a little island,
a corner of paradise. His food is as delicious as his parcours, “La
Tour d’Argent, Taillevent, Jules Verne, and he’ll put the village of
Saint-Joachim on the map, I mean have you ever heard of this place?
It’s only 437 kms outside Paris, definitely worth le detour! And he
does have a Michelin *.

the lad’s a bit of a pigeon fancier, has been breeding them for years,
so the locals (pigeons) better watch out once Guerin hits town. There’s
nothing he doesn’t do to them, no part left unused. Braised,
casseroled, en compote, ballotine, en paté, salmis, “that’s the best
way to treat old birds”, he advises! Oh yeah! Really Eric, respect!
Hang on, hang on, he hasn’t finished yet. Roast, grilled, sauté, en
crapaudine or en papilotte!

And of
course, Guerin’s schlepping a Pigeon-Meister with him, meet Rémy Anézo,
aviculteur. Anézo has roughly 2000 couples in his TLC, not far from
Guérande (where the salt comes from). They are free range, only eat
corn and wheat with a few added proteins. “This diet makes them
resistant to diseases and they taste incredible”, promises Anézo.
 Wonder if Anézo has ever thought of opening a whole-grain spa for
weight-watchers, you know “come to Guérande and learn to eat like a
bird”. Don’t laugh, nobody ever thought extreme ironing would become an
Olympic sport!    

profession of chef has brought me so much and continues to do so, I
want to open up my kingdom, give back, in my way, something to the new
French generation”. And we can all share it with him. Nice one Chef.

Relais Plaza,
21 avenue Montaigne, 8th (Champs Elysées Clemenceau)
T: 01 53 67 64 00
Open 7/7 12-14.45 – 19hrs – 23.30.

Eric Guerin,
L’Auberge du Parc,
44720 Saint-Joachim.
T: 02 40 88 53 01
E:mail [email protected]

Bon Appetit

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !