BUZZ: Poilane, Thoumieux, Plaza Athenee, Le Balzac, Cote d’Or

BUZZ: Poilane, Thoumieux, Plaza Athenee, Le Balzac, Cote d’Or

Apollonia Poilane. Photo: M. KempCuisine de Bar & Bakery Poilâne, Paris 3rd

The first Right Bank Poilâne bakery has launched in NOMA (North of Marais) in former bistro Le Pamphlet. Architects Hélène and Olivier Lempereur have created a bright, beige contemporary space, leaving the original stone and brick walls naked, but punctuated, with outsize bread sculptures. Eat in or buy the breads, croissants, scones, apple tarts, and punition biscuits for take-away.

This is a restaurant without a chef or kitchen; everything is prepared at the bar and all based around Poilâne tartines, toasted in large machines. There’s always a tartine and tapenade du jour plus, say, shrimp and guacamole, sardine, smoked salmon, smoked duck, parmesan, mozzarella and Gruyère de Comté cheese. Tartine Régime for the ladies who do: fromage frais, tomato, cucumber, chives, and olive oil. Fresh juices and red or white wine. Sweet tartines are spread with salted butter caramel.

At the helm is the lovely Apollonia Poilâne, who plans to open a second boutique in London very soon. “I’m following the path my grandfather took and I know  the one my late father, Lionel, would have taken to assure the continuity of an artisanal family business, which, one day, will be passed on to a fourth generation.” The sourdough starter is secret of the success; hand-made flour, natural fermentation and wood-fired ovens. The recipe has not changed since founder Pierre Poilâne opened the first bakery at 8, avenue du Cherche-Midi, in 1932.

Cuisine de Bar & Bakery Poilâne

Tél: 01 4461 8340

38, rue Debelleyme, Paris 3rd

Métro: Oberkampf/Filles du Calvaire

Open Tues-Sun 8:30am-10pm; Bakery open Tues-Sun  7:15am-8:15pm

Lunch formula €14 – Tartine + salad + glass of wine + coffee

Wi-Fi access

Thoumieux Bergerac Reds. Photo: M. KempBrasserie Thoumieux, Paris 7th

Today’s modern chefs just can’t stay in the kitchen, they need an identity, a signature dish, a USP (unique selling point). Jean-François Piège is the perfect example. From l’Hôtel de Crillon to his new Left Bank address, Piège has done television, authored books, married, and participated on a Top Chef jury, with artistochefs Thierry Marx, Christian Constant and Ghislaine Arabian. He also hosts the September 23 episode of Un Diner Presque Parfait on M6, in which Minister of Culture Frèdèric Mitterrand gets down and dirty. Mitterrand’s dinner won’t be judged because his appearance promotes La Semaine de Gastronomie. If you miss  Piège on that episode, catch him on Salon Cuisinez on M6 on October 6-9. And if you’re wondering, no, he doesn’t sleep! “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” Piège grins.

This week, Piège decided to give his attention to Bergerac reds. “French country wines are perfect for Brasserie Thoumieux. So, 21 vignerons from 10 Bergerac domaines schlepped their reds to Thoumieux and Piège designed a lunch around them. Foie gras de canard, condiment figues with Château Moulin Caresse 2008. Quasi de Veau cuit tout doucement, condiment de ventrèche de thon, citron, and parmesan with Domaine l’Ancienne Cure. “It’s a simple family lunch, only using reds because we’re looking toward Christmas.”

“You’ve got good wines here,” commented author and food writer Nicolas de Rabaudy. “I’ve got that at home,” pointing to Château Thénac, which we tasted with the dessert fraises gariguette chantilly. “Very nice,” said de Rabaudy, but why does he put basil on the chantilly? “Not necessary!”

Hôtel Thoumieux

Tél: 01 4705 4975

79, rue Saint Dominique, Paris 7th

Métro: La Tour Maubourg

Open: 7am-7pm

Plaza Athénée: back-of-house demonstrations on Living Heritage DayPlaza Athenee balcony. Photo: M. Kemp

The Plaza Athénée is the first and, so far, the only palace hotel to win “Living Heritage Enterprise” status in the gastronomy category. Accolades to Chef Alain Ducasse, pastry maven Christophe Michalak, chefs Chistophe Saintagne, Philippe Marc, and uber-bar director Thierry Hernandez. This award for excellence was created by François Baroin, France minister of Economy, Finance and Industry.

Haven’t you always wanted to have a peek backstage? Well, for one day only you can, when Plaza Athénée turns the spotlight on the 500+ employees working in its hotel. On “Living Heritage Day,” the palace opens its doors to reveal the secrets of the Plaza’s gastronomy and French lifestyle. Get an insight into restaurant service, cocktails, flower arranging, conciergerie, French polishing, etc., as the staff showcases their crafts with interactive workshops and demonstrations.

Living Heritage Day – Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hotel Plaza Athénée courtyard

Tél: 01 5367 6665

25, avenue Montaigne, Paris 8th

Métro: Alma-Marceau

Limited number of places (no charge) Click to book now online

Nigel Slater on book cover, "Toast." Photo: Gotham Le Balzac Cinéma “Toast” Premiere

Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky, the larger-than-life owner of Le Balzac, the chicest cinéma in Paris, often greets cinema-goers with a glass of Champagne. He also organizes pre-screening dinners by the likes of chefs Pierre Gagnaire, Guy Martin, Michel Bras, and Olivier Roellinger.

Schpoliansky adores the Franco-Japanese cuisine from the bistro Qui Plume La Lune, and you can see the movie, Toast, en avant-prèmiere while dining on a menu created by Qui Plume’s chef Jackie Ribault.

“I’m very excited. Jackie’s planning something exceptional,” promises Schpoliansky. “Toast,” based on Nigel Slater‘s bestselling memoir about life as an amateur cook and author, stars Helena Bonham Carter and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’sFreddie Highmore. Think England’s answer to Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential.”

“The simple act of making someone something to eat, even a bowl of soup or a loaf of bread, has a many-layered meaning. It suggests an act of protection and caring, of generosity and intimacy. It is in itself a sign of respect,” says Slater. Can’t wait.

Le Balzac Cinéma

Tél: 01 4563 3050

1, rue Balzac, Paris 8th

Métro: George V

When: Tuesday, October, 4, 2011

Cost: Dinner & film €60, including wine

Reservations at Balzac Cinema or

Chocoholics Corner: Côte d’Or launching new chocolate, Afrodisiaque

Belgian chocolatier, Côte d’Or, will launch its latest sweet edition, Afrodisiaque, by giving away the dark stuff as it transforms part of rue Saint-Honoré and rue Vauvilliers into “Le Quartier du Chocolat.” Salón de téa Horror Picture Tea, TH Gallery and Galerie La Tour are also involved.

September 15 through October 2.

Le Quartier du Chocolat

Horror Picture Tea

95, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 1st

Galerie La Tour, 111, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 1st

TH Gallery 7, rue Vauvilliers, Paris 1st

Métro: Louvre-Rivoli, Les Halles

Margaret Kemp is a Cordon Bleu graduate who spent a year traveling the world, working and watching in the kitchens of top chefs from Sydney, Australia via Bangkok, Hong Kong, California, New York and France. She reports for BonjourParis on the latest European trends, restaurants and hot spots.

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Cooking with Chocolate: Essential Recipes & Techniques (Book & DVD in English) by Clay McLachlan, Pierre Herme, et al  coming Oct. 18, 2011–order now & get 39% discount for advance orders

French Country Cooking by Elizabeth David [Sept 2011]

Eating & Drinking in Paris (5th Edition): French Menu Translator & Restaurant Guide (Eating and Drinking) [Aug 2011]

Four Kitchens: My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv and Paris [August 2011, called “a charmer”]

Left Bank 4-star luxury in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district:

Hôtel Odéon Saint-Germain is a 4-star hotel in the heart of the Left Bank. Luxurious, soundproofed rooms have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV, minibar, walk-in closet & L’Occitane toiletries. The hotel is a 16th-century building w/ an interior courtyard. Daily  breakfast buffet served every morning & cap your night w/a drink in the on-site lounge bar. 24-hour front desk & hotel airport shuttle. Métro: Odéon steps away; cinema, cafes & shopping just out the door in the chic Paris 6th entertainment district. Past guests rate this popular hotel 8.3 of 10.


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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 !

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