On November 29th, 2011, Le Camion Qui Fume, France’s first food truck, opened its hatch and voila!– “le street food” became the chic new way to eat in Paris.
The revolutionary gastronomic concept was created by California-born chef Kristin Frederick, who arrived in Paris via San Diego State University and having worked for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, Beverly Hills. “My parents were in the restaurant business and I wanted to learn my craft and study at Ferrandi, one of the world’s top cookery schools,” she told BP one day last week. Following Ferrandi, Kristin worked six months for Jean-Claude Vigato at the Michelin two-starred Apicius. “The chef’s a hunter and I would pluck 90 ducks daily during the season,” she recalls. “I loved it!”
And then, single handed, Kristin changed the way the French eat! “The idea came to me because I wanted to open a restaurant but it was too expensive.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Today there are 80 food trucks circulating in the Île de France and 80 throughout the Hexagon (not all owned by KF) and Kristin is the proud President of “Food Trucks of France.” “I love it when they call me Madame Président,” she says.
Ideas come to Kristin every waking moment. As well as Huabu (“Chinatown” in Chinese), together with Pablo Jacob (trained by Michel Bras, Laguiole, William Ledeuil at Ze Kitchen Galerie and on Camion Qui Fume), there’s the recent transformation of the former Freddie’s Deli into GreenHouse – a bucolic corner of Menilmontant – with full frontal organic herb, plants, vegetable and fruit garden. The industrial interior décor is by Vanessa Grall of www.messynessychic.com.
“We’re product centric but not vegetarian; there’s chicken, fish, beef, duck etc. on the menu that I call “fast-good” – healthy food to eat in or take out. All the ingredients are organic, the wines are natural, and everything comes from small producers who respect the rhythm of the seasons, as well as from our garden,” Kristin explains.
Starters (from €5) may be a selection of Tempura, sauce Ponzu; Chicken soup/tarragon and vegetables or Gyoza (Japanese ravioli) sauce Sichuan, black vinaigrette. Mains (from (€11) Quinoa, smoked hummus/beetroot/carrot/roast harissa/ tahini /courgette seeds/fresh herbs/soft poached egg; Risotto of Petit Epautre (spelt), celery purée, pickles, turnip leaves, rosti, duck. To finish, Chia grain Pudding (5€) + Raw Bowl Chocolat Cru.
GreenHouse is open from Tuesday – Saturday – 12h to 14h30. Evenings it morphs into a bar à vins from 19h – 22h with music and tapas showcasing natural wines by winemakers including Vincent Fleith from Alsace, Sarnin-Berrux (Burgundy), Pierre Olivier Bonhomme (Touraine), and Gian Marco Antonuz (Italy).
“GreenHouse marks an evolution for me,” reflects Kristin. “Come back this evening and drink some wine with us.” And I will – see you there!
GreenHouse, 22 rue Crespin du Gast, 11th arrondissement. Metro: Menilmontant. Closed Sunday-Monday. No reservations, leave a message on: +33 (0)1 84 16 33 75. www.facebook.com/kristin.n.frederick