Making a success of a French restaurant in 2020

‘I was at a stage in my career where I had worked for 16 years for other chefs, and I wanted to test myself, to see how much I had learnt’ says chef Adrien Descouls

‘Young apprentices do not know the basics anymore’ Adrien Descouls was semi-finalist in the M6 reality show Top Chef in 2018. 

Now, he runs his own gastronomic restaurant, Origines, in rural Auvergne.

He discusses the challenges he faces

 

Do you think your generation is changing French cuisine?

I think we bring a new open-mindedness to cooking. We do not have fixed rules about what goes with what, you just have to find the right balance of flavours.

My generation of 30 to 35-year-old cooks have carried out our training with some of the greatest and most-respected chefs who have taught us our skills, and we add a touch of modernity to tradition.

Part of my family lives in London and when I visit it makes me realise that, in France, we do find it difficult to get away from tradition.

When I eat in London restaurants I find there are no barriers and I find chefs mix with ease traditional English cooking with cultures from all over the world.

 

And what is modernity in French cooking? 

A dramatic diner’s view of one of the meals served

Modernity is marrying new flavours together, but also choosing our products differently. Before, no-one worried about eating green beans from January to January. We could get them from Kenya and no-one questioned that. The new generation is much more sensitive.

I only work with food producers from my department and, for example, I would never include sea fish on my menu, because I live in the centre of France.

 

Is this also what the customer wants?

I think so. Local people who come to eat here rediscover food from their own region which they had forgotten about.  Those who come from outside the region like to discover what is typical here.

I love the fact that we have gone back to what it was like a 100 years ago.

If you went to Lyon then, the chefs had a great talent for ...

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