My Paris: Interview with Chef Amaury Bouhours
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Chef Amaury Bouhours (33) helms the 2-Michelin-star Alain Ducasse Restaurant and Le Dali at Le Meurice Hotel, Paris. “Amaury combines a youthful outlook and fresh approach to ‘Essential Cuisine’ with his passion for authentic flavors and contemporary French gastronomy,” says Monsieur Ducasse.
The chef’s brilliant career took off in Monaco at Le Louis XV. Then Bouhours came to Paris to continue working with Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée, subsequently joining Le Meurice as chef de cuisine, under Jocelyn Herland (now at Relais Plaza, Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris). Today he’s proud to be executive chef. Guests return time after time to sample his delicious vision of French cuisine: light, subtle, sustainable, 95% locally sourced.
Here he shares his favorite Paris addresses and insider city recommendations.
Where were you born?
In the Paris region, the 92nd arrondissement of the Hauts de Seine. When I was 6, we moved to Compiègne (Oise department), the perfect place to grow up. In the middle of nature, famous for its dense forest, Napoleon’s imperial palace- a breath of fresh air 45 minutes from Le Meurice!
Your favorite Paris ‘hood?
Le Marais. Cobblestone streets, quirky boutiques, multi ethnic, marvelous places to eat, drink, people watch.
Three words to describe Paris?
Historic, romantic and gastronomique.
What do you love most about Paris?
The history’s fascinating, showcased in the architecture, reflected in the gastronomy, the art – everything, everywhere! “There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.” ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast.
If you could share a coffee or a bottle of wine with a Parisian past or present, who would it be?
Jean Gabin, the late great actor of French cinema! French Can-Can, Inspector Maigret, Le Jardinier d’Argenteuil, Le Clan Sicilian etc. Born in Paris in 1904, he died in Neuilly in 1976 and was cremated at Père Lachaise Cemetery, his ashes scattered, romantically, off the Brittany coast.
A local you admire?
I’m a fan of PSG and football in general. I would say Kylian Mbappé; he has an impressive career and he’s only 23, so young. The last time I looked, the boy from the Paris suburb of Bondy had more Insta followers than President Macron !
What’s the one thing every Parisian should own?
The essential: A Pass Navigo
An item you can’t live without?
A razor sharp chef’s knife – indispensable!
Favorite place for lunch in Paris?
Papillon in the 17th arrondissement. This is chef Christophe Saintagne’s bistro – we worked together at L’Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Christophe creates refined, modern French dishes, putting sustainable products at the center of the plate; we share the same culinary philosophies.
Best address for coffee and/ or drinks in Paris?
Le Café Alain Ducasse avec 1895 by Lavazza, Bastille
(12 rue Saint-Sabin, 11th.)
Where do you buy clothes?
Printemps Haussmann. And, it’s open 7/7
And products / groceries / vegetables?
At the rue de Lévis market, near my home in the 17th arrondissement.
An interesting way to spend an evening in Paris?
Going to see stand-up guarantees a good time. The cultural and entertainment offers in Paris are really great – you never get bored.
What is the “touristy” thing you secretly like to do in Paris?
Take a Seine River trip on a Bateaux-Mouches.
Favorite museum in Paris?
The Louvre. I could spend days in this museum which literally traces the history of the world through the works of different eras.
The Opéra Garnier, the monument historique building, constructed by architect Charles Garnier (commissioned by Napoleon III between 1861-1873), is magnificent.
The Left or Right Banks of the River Seine, at any time of the day.
One thing you wish Parisians would stop moaning about?
Les bouchons! (The traffic jams.) But it’s impossible, the French love to complain; it’s a national sport!
The Belly of Paris, Emile Zola’s 19th-century novel set around Les Halles Market – it makes me hungry!
Favorite movie of all time?
Any classic: James Bond
Favorite city to visit (outside of Paris)
Annecy, a very beautiful city between lake and mountains.
Is there an annual event like a festival, gala, or exhibition that you look forward to each year?
As I mentioned, I’m a football fan, so the most anticipated annual events for me are the football season and the Champions League, without hesitation.
What’s the one place you take guests in Paris?
You only have €25 left – how will you spend it?
I’ll go straight to Le Petit Vendôme and order the dish of the day with a glass of natural wine. (8 rue des Capucines, 2nd.)
Lead photo credit : Amaury Bouhours © Sadik
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