I am thrilled to have Bruno Verjus as the Parisian of the Month for October. Bruno, is the very talented chef/owner of Table restaurant, which I raved about in July.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Roanne in the Loire, a small provincial town approximately 60km from Lyon and known for hosting the famous three-star, creator of salmon with sorrel in the 60’s, the Maison Troisgros; Pralus the chocolatier and Mons – the cheesemonger (MOF). I grew up in the countryside, in nature, specifically in Renaison, near the river, Renaison which gives its name to the small village of the Roanne coast.
At what age did you start to be interested in food and how About did your taste for food develop as you got older?
From childhood I was bathed in the wilderness. At the age of eight, I cultivated the family garden - radish, tomatoes, lettuce, had no secrets for me. A few years later, I walked the fields, forests and the river - the Renaison - in search of wild herbs, mushrooms and catching trout and crayfish.
You worked in the corporate world before you went into the food business. What kind of job did you have and how and why did you transition to food?
I created and directed the Premium Group for 18 years. I spent much of that life traveling the world - China, Japan, Indonesia, Europe, USA ... It granted me the opportunity to discover other cultures, including their culinary landscapes. With the same appetite devoted to museums and art, I studied the markets, products, customs and ceremonies. Between the business world and that of gastronomy, there was no transition. Food is part of me since childhood.
Before you started Table, you were a food writer. Please tell us how that started and some of the publications you wrote for. Also please tell us about your blog.
I started writing books at the request of publishers including the prestigious Gallimard. The intent was to share my knowledge on new and existing products and recipes. I had an opportunity to re-enchant the world with colors, words and flavors. I enjoyed proposing and sharing essential values on the art of the table, creating dialogue around products and culture, and reinvigorating traditional thought around the subject back to Roman times when agriculture and culture, which share the same roots, reveal the true nature of things.
I started writing with that same ambition for guides including Le Fooding, Omnivore, le magazine de cinéma et d'art , 3 Couleurs, et Au Quotidien and every day on my blog Food Intelligence, a fantastic experience, part writing workshop, part multimedia experience, sincere and spontaneous.
You have traveled the world discovering food. What are the some of the exotic and unusual food tastes and experiences you've had.
The most exotic and the most unusual experience for discovering a taste and learning the culture is one of tasting an egg. Not just any egg, a "hundred year" egg in Dongguan in Southern China. This object lesson in tasting is never say that you do not like what one does not know; Learning, always learning and do not judge; it is the same for the food critic, he or she must not act as a referee judge of good taste. It must reveal the nature of things in terms of culture.
Please tell us about the weekly podcast.
With my friend Alain Kruger, a producer, we created a weekly radio show called "on ne parle pas la bouche pleine" (don’t talk with your mouth full) - for France Culture with 30 minute podcasts. We have had food professionals & also artists, writers, architects, dancers, actors, philosophers, and filmmakers, with the world seen from their view.The show aired for four years but I haven’t been doing the show since last year because of my work at the restaurant.
You run a food auction for the auction house Artcurial every year. What is the purpose of the auction and what things do you auction?
With Artcurial, this is to show that money can buy everything except taste ... The sale called "fine food" is held every year on 18 December in Paris at Artcurial at the roundabout of the Champs Elysées, just before Christmas. Fine Food is the only auction in the world that offers edible lots: matured prime rib, rare oysters, ham, tea, cheese, bread, foie gras, pasta, but also butter, salt, eggs, roosters and other great rarities ... exceptional products by their origin. This sale is to the benefit of the Red Cross.
What is the focus of Table?
I spent nearly a whole year to prepare the Table project, from set design to plate. Offering the best at the best price, offering good food, where one can feast on pure flavors while providing our producers the assurance of absolute respect of their products.
Where and what are some of the sources of the ingredients at Table?
I work with French producers, Belgian, Italian, Spanish, Scottish and seasonally available products. The rule is to not order specific products but to let the producer ensure the best product at the best time and the quantity available. I do not want to exert "pressure" that modifies the producer by imposing quantities that they cannot master or force them to change their mode of operation. This is a form of eco-responsibility that a restaurateur has over its artisans and producers. Specifically, I work with Caron for poultry eggs. Situated in the Somme, this farmer lets his chickens come and go in a permaculture space; wild and live forever! The same goes for black Gascon pigs of Grau farm in the Southwest of France. The pigs go about on wooden agroforestry and thus offer the best hams I know today. For fish, the insularity of the island of Yeu and its purity offer the best fish available. Pascal Hennequin, the fish merchant saves local product me each morning - often very large fish (groupers of 24 kilos fished by the vessel Aurora Borealis).
If you could cook dinner for anyone on the world, living or dead, who would it be and what would you cook?
Marcel Proust ... I would roast him a beautiful virgin hen Barbezieu and ask him the recipe for the pineapple and truffle. This is a dish that the mother of the hero Marquis de Norpois Proust makes and the preparation of this recipe is not given.
What do you prefer about Paris?
The banks of Ile Saint Louis. I like insularity, it plunges me into nature and withdrawal for reflection. I enjoy whiling away my thoughts and clinging to the water.
12 rue de Prague, 75012
Metro: Ledru- Rollin
Tel. + 33 (0)1 4343 1226
Open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner
Saturday for dinner
Reservations highly recommended
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
My offer of a 12-month subscription with an extra month free is good until October 31, so remember to order now before the offer ends.
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.