Piège's art of eating

A book (in French) illustrates the original approach of the great Transalpine chef

31-07-2013
A detail of the cover of Jean-François Piège’s

A detail of the cover of Jean-François Piège’s book "L'art de manger", published by Autrement in May 2013. You can buy it here. At the helm of Thomieux, which is a brasserie on the ground floor and a gourmet restaurant on the first floor, 43-year-old JFP is one of France’s great chefs

“L’Art de Manger” is the book expressing all of Jean-François Piège’s thought, that of an extraordinary talent in French cuisine. In the resume of this chef born in 1970 there are some relevant experiences such as working with Alain Ducasse for a decade and at the helm of the Parisian restaurant of the monumental Hôtel de Crillon (now closed for renovations until 2015). Some time ago he was “kidnapped” by Thoumieux, which is a Brasserie on the ground floor of rue Saint Dominique (7th arrondissement) and a gourmet restaurant on the first floor.

The intimate gourmet restaurant of Piège

The intimate gourmet restaurant of Piège

Thoumieux is an almost centennial establishment, revolutionised by Piège, a chef with a classic training with some peaks of vanguard that he puts into practice in his gourmet restaurant, founded on an unusual concept: guests are invited to enjoy the “Rule of the Game” menu. According to this, they can choose one ingredient which JFP has highlighted in the menu and the dinner will be based on that. No chairs, only very comfortable armchairs and sofas. Tables are not set before the guests arrive. Suffused lighting and mirrors create a magic and mysterious atmosphere. There are only about 20 seats and the kitchen is well visible.

The book is unusual because it encloses the chef’s philosophy, as illustrated by his illustrious guests. It is enriched by some signature recipes that make his vision of the meal and of good eating stand out. This doesn’t necessarily depend on the quality of raw materials (which is in fact very clear). Living well is the starting point - trusting what the chef will prepare is necessary. The meal is developed thanks to a perfect organisation, with the director of the dining room changing after every course. There are however some rules which guests need to follow for the meal to be successful.

Piège was a speaker at Identità Milano, 2009 edition

Piège was a speaker at Identità Milano, 2009 edition

According to Piège, the art of eating is based on the “Duty of hospitality”, on welcoming your guest, something in which a certain visual and physical comfort should never be missing: in the way tables are arranged, with the intensity of the lights, the mise en place with magnificent porcelain plates, the elegant dishes, the sublime food and an elegant service. As for him, the chef cooks following the seasons, nourishing his guests’ memory, preparing unforgettable dishes in which technique comes only after the impeccable ingredients.

After the section dedicated to recipes, the volume moves on to introducing the guests, each one of them being a protagonist in the art of eating. There’s architect and designer India Mahdavi (for visual art), the porcelain specialist Michel Bernardaud (for the art of the table), Dom Pérignon’s chef du cave, Richard Geoffreoy (for the art of wine), farmer Joël Thiébault and photographer Stéphane de Bourgies. In the end Piège thanks all his suppliers one by one. Among them, the name of Fulvio Pierangelini, official dispenser of extra virgin olive oil, stands out.


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