Posts Tagged 'Paris Restaurants'

Stella Maris, Paris

Stella Maris

This blessed, little restaurant rests on the rue Arsène Houssaye, a small side street off the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe itself. For readers who are not Catholic and for those whose Latin is a little rusty, Stella Maris means star of the sea and is a title of the Virgin Mary’s. This though is irrelevant; the name actually refers to the chef, Tateru Yoshino’s, first venture in Odawara near Tokyo and at the foot of Mount Fuji.
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l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Paris

l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Joël Robuchon was never meant to be a chef. In fact, he intended to become a priest. Born into a modest, Catholic family of five children in Poitiers, to a stonemason father and housewife mother, he entered the seminary at twelve. However, when his parents were unable to keep up with their youngest son’s tuition fees, Robuchon turned in his bnlack clergyman’s robes and invested in a set of chef’s whites, deciding to dedicate his life to cooking and, at fifteen, took on an apprenticeship at Relais de Poitiers. At twenty-one (1966), he joined les Compagnons du Tour de France; a role that entailed travelling around France working with different master chefs and introduced him to different regional cuisines, produce and techniques. It was during this period that he worked with Jean Delaveyne at le Berkeley, whom Robuchon would later name his greatest teacher. After seven years, he was hired as head chef at Hôtel Harmony La Fayette in Paris where he had to turn out three hundreds meals a day. Robuchon discovered Japanese cooking in the seventies and, after winning the MOF in 1976, Bocuse invited him to teach pver there. The simplicity and technique he witnessed impressed and stayed with him ever since, as did an affection for the Far East. After his return to France, he was head chef at Les Celebrités in Hôtel Nikko, before opening his own restaurant, Jamin, in 1981. His success here was immediate and immense. As it smashed Michelin records, winning its first star after three months then all three in three years, Jamin became a legend and set Robuchon up as a first among equals, a position Gault Millau corroborated by naming him ‘Cuisinier du Siecle’ in 1990. Eventually, in 1993, he moved from the original Jamin site to a larger space at the Hôtel Le Parc on avenue Raymond Poincaré.
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l’Ami Louis, Paris

l'Ami Louis

l‘Ami Louis opened in 1924. It has not changed since.

The original owner was maître rôtisseur, Antoine Magnin. Easily identifiable by the red bandana that was always tied around his neck, he ran the restaurant up until 1986, when at the age of eighty-five, he sold the business to Thierry de la Brosse and Louis Gadby, the latter previously a waiter there. Under the terms of the sale, Magnin remained in the kitchen after the exchange, to be assisted by the sous chef who had been at his side for eighteen years already. However, a year on, in November 1987, he was obliged to check into a Paris clinic for health reasons; a week later he passed away. De la Brosse, who is also co-owner of Aux Lyonnais with Alain Ducasse and who has been a regular at l’Ami Louis since he was seventeen years old, later said that ‘it took me about three years to convince him that I would be a good candidate to carry on his tradition’. He also let slip that the late, great roaster had two real loves in his life, ‘cooking and women, especially American women’.
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Le Pré Catelan, Paris

Le Pré Catelan - l'Enseigne

As of 1976, Le Pré Catelan has been part of Lenôtre, the eponymous and celebrated catering company founded by one of France’s foremost pâtissiers, Gaston Lenôtre. This former dairy farm, however, was first opened by a respected Parisian restaurateur as du Pré Catelan in 1906. To attract customers, he charged what he advertised as bourgeois prices. To his own cost though, locals did not agree with his interpretation of bourgeois whilst the moneyed Americans that pervaded Paris turned their noses up unanimously at any thing that even smelt of cheap. Therefore, he was forced to quickly sell out to the eminent Monsieur Mouriez, who already included the Café de Paris, restaurant d’Armenonville and the Abbay Thélème in his stable of iconic dining/drinking institutions. He made immediate changes, namely raising prices, which actually worked wonderfully well at attracting hordes of American tourists, but he also kept some of the restaurant’s old customs like bringing cows into the dining room to be milked by the more adventurous clientele.
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