Discovering Grébaut

Portrait of Septime young man, a rising star in the new Parisian and French Cuisine

03-02-2013
Bertrand Grébaut, young French talent at the helm

Bertrand Grébaut, young French talent at the helm of the restaurant Septime in Paris, at 80 di rue de Charonne, +33.(0)1.43673829. After the apprenticeship at Alain Passard’s Arpège, he conquered a Michelin star at the Agapé, when he was only 27. He will be a speaker at Identità Milano on Sunday 10th February at 4 pm, on the day dedicated to the "young lions of world’s cuisine " (photo by Lindsey Tramuta)

Go, live and become. When his friends made him understand that he was more capable of cooking than of drawing graffiti with the filmmakers of the Parisian underground, few would have thought that one day he would incarnate the new generation of French cuisine. He himself says that when on a Saturday he leans on the counter of Raquel Carema’s Baratin, it is to freshen up the essential values of life. Septime keeps track of everything: of the apprenticeship with Passard to the first star when he was just over 25 year old, under the protection of Laurent Lapaire’s Agapé, which resulted in a sabbatical escape to the East (with Tatiana, his partner of a lifetime) where he wanted to reflect on the essentiality of the rest of his young life.

He brings his experience in all his healthy doubts, in every product tried, tasted, cooked and approved together. At the entrance there’s Theo, a lanky character, an example of this open, elegant space (but at his feet, Converse, New Balance or Nike trainers are a must), a casual yet pondered place, where Nordic essentiality is melted with a bistro-style relax that is more flamboyantly Parisian. And there’s always Teo, a good maître des cérémonies and Italian-oenophile without equal (ask him to tell you about his natural wines, fermenting and exploding in the cellar), who incarnates the service which, with the bluntest naturalness, seems to contest Chateaubriand’s irresolution – a basis for comparison of the vocation of thousands of new careers.

Cod fish with carrots and zucchini by Bertrand Grébaut (picture by Lindsey Tramuta)

Cod fish with carrots and zucchini by Bertrand Grébaut (picture by Lindsey Tramuta)

Here at Grébaut’s it isn’t so much utopia that undermines reality, it’s what’s possible now and here that dictates the coordinates of a deductive cuisine of immediate execution, of soft cooking and cut off contrasts, liminal harmonies and shows of accessory textures. When clarity rhymes with taste, and frankness with love, you can pull down ancient walls and unthinkable fences making the survival of gastronomy (or of what is left of it) resonate on the same wavelength of the far more essential lifestyle of bistronomy.

Every day, Grébaut replies to the diktat of duty, that cooking is important, but living is a thousand times more so. He does so via the menu that comes across his mind (Corn gnocchetti with gruyere cream, sage and elderberry sprouts, Veal tartare with oysters and potato mousseline). And here life is lived in the present tense. Like nowhere else, this occurs with all the steps, the ideas, the inspirations caught in the glimpse of a moment, the slowly matured reflections: the Salsifies with braised endive and cream of comte, The Duck heart with crystallised cabbage leaves, egg yolk, meat juice and mustard in great quantities, before a superb Cod with shiitake and black turnips with a bitter orange compote. Of course, when you exit, there will always be the idiots who will say, like at the Chateaubriand, «but the food is better at…».


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