Culinary Profiles

Parsley?” asks my son the chef.

“Here,” I reply.

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

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!

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!

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!”

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?

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,

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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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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