August 1, 2012
For the first installment of our new Draw Me A Fridge series (all the details here), Alexia met with Bertrand Grébaut, chef of the Paris restaurant Septime.
A former head chef at Agapé (where he was awarded a Michelin star in record time), trained by Passard and Robuchon, Bertrand Grébaut opened up his restaurant Septime in April 2011. The long waiting list hasn't shortened since, nor has the impeccable, friendly service of his team wavered.
AC: What are your fridge staples?
BG: Oh, this is quite embarrassing -- our fridge is rather empty! Actually, we keep plenty of bottles of sparkling water in there -- all sorts of brands. In our freezer, we have a small carton of chilies that my girlfriend got from her restaurant supplier (Editor's note: Tatiana Levha, Ex-Astrance, Ex-Arpège, is the pastry chef behind the signature desert of the Foodstock festival held on May 12, 2012). We use the tiniest pinch of it when we prepare a dish. Those chilies are so spicy that this carton will last forever!
We also keep a really nice tomato sauce in there. Actually, we always have an excellent burrata in our fridge that I get from the Italian coop (Editor's note: Coopérative Latte Cisternino 108 rue Saint Maur 75011), as well as some cured meats. We also always have some super fresh parsley and cilantro -- we use them with everything. And soy sauce. And although it does kill me a little bit to admit it, I am a sucker for industrial mayonnaise and instant noodles!
AC: Do you handle the grocery shopping yourself?
BG: We do our shopping at Marché Popincourt and Marché d'Aligre, as well as at small neighborhood food shops. We don't eat at home often. I spend my entire week cooking, so when the weekend comes, I make sure I get out there and see what the other chefs are up to.
AC: What is the most surprising thing that you keep in your fridge at home -- or the most surprising thing about your fridge?
BG: A fine slice of horse heart! I really like horse meat -- although I am aware that it is quite unorthodox to say that. Just because you ride them doesn't mean you can't eat them! I get the meat from this specialty stall at Marché Popincourt or Marché Richard Lenoir.
AC: Any "science experiment" -- or cooking disaster -- that you would like to share?
BG: I recently attempted to prepare a cheesecake for the team at the restaurant -- it came out like a sad crêpe! A total disaster. I lost a bit of my credibility for a minute there. Actually, I don't enjoy baking that much. I don't like getting my hands sticky. When we have guests coming over for dinner at home, I'll get a desert from the restaurant, or a Paris-Brest from Philippe Conticini's Pâtisserie des Rêves (Editor's note: 93 rue du Bac 75007 and 11 rue de Longchamp 75016).
AC: Do you keep anything non-edible in your fridge?
BG: My girlfriend keeps her Caudalie cosmetics in there. Lots of them.
AC: Any recipe you could suggest to our readers for when there's hardly anything left in the fridge?
BG: We like to use leftover meat from a roast chicken, steam some white rice in the rice cooker and top it up with a condiment made of parsley, coriander, soy sauce and a good lemon squeeze. Delicious.
80 rue de Charonne, Paris 11ème, M° Charonne
Phone: +33 (0)1 43 67 38 29
Closed Sat and Sun. Bookings open 3 weeks ahead.
Alexia notes: If you have a soft spot for industrial mayonnaise and instant noodles too, I recommend the two following reads, perfect for a vacation: The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life by Andy Raskin and The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery.
Draw Me A Fridge: Luisa Weiss
Parents Who Cook: Michael Ruhlman
Draw Me A Fridge: Alexandre Cammas