L'Adresse in Paris, an incubator for chefs on the launching pad

Every 6 months, sous-chefs who’re about to work solo arrive in the kitchen of the Fulgurances restaurant

19-07-2017

L'Address by Fulgurances, in 10 Rue Alexandre Dumas, 11th Arrondissement in Paris, tel. +33.(0)1.43481459, is closed from Saturday to Monday. Tasting menu: 19 and 24 euros at lunchtime, 46 and 58 in the evening

Creating and conveying one’s identity is a precious mission for a restaurant: it’s what makes a safe landing in what is not always a soft journey among the restaurants of a town, and it makes it possible for guests, once they cross the entrance, to know exactly why they are there and not elsewhere. Though the personality of a place goes beyond the sum of its components, more and more often, lately, we tend to identify it with that of chefs and their cuisine.

Sophie Cornibert and Hugo Hivernat, founders at Fulgurances, have created L’Adresse, a place in which the cuisine changes, and is handed to different hands, though its identity is clearly perceivable. It’s a safe port not just for clients, but also for those working in the kitchen, where young ex sous-chefs arrive after leaving their mother-home to create their own project. Chefs in transit: they do their dress rehearsal here, in view of their first show as protagonists and, after no longer than 6 months, must slip moorings so that another colleague can moor.

During the residence, free of all the preoccupations caused by the technical and administrative issues linked to a restaurant, they can focus on their cuisine, while Hugo and Sophie take care of everything else: programming, selecting and assisting the chefs during their stay, communication, not to mention the restaurant staff and the clients, making everything a perfect, harmonious ensemble.

Until September there’s Céline Pham, previously at Ze Kitchen Gallery, Saturne and Septime (photo from Table Ronde)

Until September there’s Céline Pham, previously at Ze Kitchen GallerySaturne and Septime (photo from Table Ronde)

«With every chef you learn that… you must forget all you learnt before and start from scratch! Our teams are constantly enriched with new experiences, the kitchen and dining room brigades travel without moving, confront themselves with different styles of cuisines», says Sophie.

The only commitment chefs must follow is the price of the menu: between 19 and 24 euros at lunchtime and 48 and 58 euros in the evening, but they can choose the format that best represents them. Aside from the guest chef, the kitchen and dining room brigades are fixed, ready to take on the challenge every 6 months, just in time to create a routine without running the risk of getting bored. Having reached the fifth residence, Sophie and Hugo have created a perfect synergy between the place – unchangeable – and the chef in transit, in a dynamic balance of personalities.

«Some people come without wondering who the chef in residence is, because they know they’ll eat good food. They know it will be the usual place, and it will always be different», says Hugo.

Until September, at L’Adresse Céline Pham will officiate (in her curriculum Ze Kitchen GallerySaturneSeptime). She charms with her refined touch and the exotic scents of her Vietnamese origins. The kitchen’s debut in October 2015 was with Chloé Charles (SeptimeAgapé Substance), followed by Tamir Nahmias (FrenchieYam’tcha), Rose Green (In De Wulf), Sam Miller (Champignon SauvageMugaritzFäviken). They’re not all about to open their restaurant: some, after the experience in a brigade, prefer to remain a “roaming chef”, for events, pop-ups, private dinners. As the restaurant industry is evolving, opening your own restaurant is no longer the necessary goal for a chef. There are new formats, freer and unpredictable.

L’Adresse is successful because it’s not a concept developed in a laboratory with the aim of creating something surprising. It is the result of the natural evolution of Sophie’s and Hugo’s journey. It’s a place for their experiences, travels, meetings and ideas.  

«We never thought ‘we must make a business, what can we do?'. It all came naturally», adds Hugo.

Fulgurances was born in 2010 as a blog on culinary experiences and became famous thanks to a series of events Les seconds seront les premiers ("Seconds will be first"), giving the chance to the sous chefs in the brigade they came across to become chef for a night, far away from the usual kitchen and the influence of their chef. A success that repeated itself in over 40 editions and as many sous-chef, over half of which opened their own restaurant.

Hugo Hivernat and Sophie Cornibert, founders at Fulgurances (photo lemonde.fr)

Hugo Hivernat and Sophie Cornibert, founders at Fulgurances (photo lemonde.fr)

Since 3 years ago, Fulgurances is also a magazine, Itineraires d’une cuisine contemporaine, culinary journeys across different countries, marked by meetings that portray contemporary cuisine. A fresh and free look, that wants to remain such even when on paper, with a changing layout, unnumbered pages, a design that is both avantgarde and timeless, self-produced and self-distributed.

«The magazine allows us to continue to travel, to have a more artistic approach. For four years we just travelled and experimented restaurants. Now we have a place, but it is essential that we keep on moving», Hugo.

These days Fulgurances events continue at L’Adresse where, on top of the chefs in residence, Sophie and Hugo welcome special guests (the first was Riccardo Camanini) and organise multiple-handed dinners so that even chefs in residence can confront themselves with other minds and cuisines. On Monday 3rd July the chef and sommelier of Bolivian restaurant Gustu met Céline’s Vietnam in Paris.

The latest born at the maison is Fulgurances - En Face, a wine-bar where Sophie and Hugo present their most recent passion for natural wines and offer simple dishes. This too is a place destined to be dynamic and welcome events, chefs and producers, but in a simpler format.

«At L’Adresse we must be the best mediators for the cuisine of every chef in residence. At the wine-bar it’s us. It’s the place we most feel our own», says Sophie.

Many people ask Hugo and Sophie how they can create something similar, but truth is, it’s not easy to replicate their format: L’Adresse is the tip of an iceberg made of travels, ideas, meetings and friendships developed over time. It is animated by an uncontrollable desire to continue to travel even after they’ve thrown their anchor.


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