Supporting local agriculture, maintaining the link with the community, and providing her customers access to high-quality products, are all the commitments of this visionary and committed Chef.
Special contributor - Philippe Audier - Founder & CEO - FRENCHEFS
Restaurants closed on March 14 in France. Since then, restaurateurs and Chefs have been inventive in rethinking their business model to avoid doing nothing during the lockdown. Chef Amandine Chaignot recently transformed her closed restaurant, Pouliche, into a farmers’ market.
"After this crisis, I'm afraid it's like a teenage bender... the next day you say ‘never again’ but three weeks later it's already forgotten!"
Like many chefs in recent weeks, Amandine Chaignot, an active chef on the Parisian culinary scene, found herself faced with a closed restaurant, no more business, and a feeling of hopelessness. Faced with her situation, a few certainties were clear: we have to move forward, help Parisians to eat as healthy as possible, and help small producers sell their products.
Committed, Amandine Chaignot transformed her restaurant into a small market place, reinventing her restaurant by turning the tables and chairs into stands of produce. Despite the logistical constraints of delivery, a success story was written for loyal customers, and neighborhood clientele who were looking for healthy food, local ingredients, and a supportive approach to their restaurants and producers. First, she started with three small farmers and within a few days, Amandine diversified her market by offering not only vegetables, but fresh seafood, and high quality meat. Her project was a huge success that gave hope for the direct distribution chain.
To some extent, we can ask ourselves: why chefs didn’t think of this sooner? Who better than a chef, who carefully selects his suppliers and ingredients, in tune with the seasons, to sell the result of his knowledge and work to his customers? From farms, to restaurants, to customers, Amandine provides access to quality, seasonal products that are cheaper because there is less of an intermediary...
"In Paris, the fact is that if you cut the farmers’ markets, if you cut the restaurants, there aren't a lot of local shops where you can find high-quality fruit and vegetables direct from the farm."
In high-density cities, even if a short circuit offer exists, such as Paris’s Terroir D’Avenir, Maison Plisson, and Au bout du Champs, there are limited offers compared to the potential demand. This is where we can see a key role for chefs in committing themselves to offer a local relay for their producers and the products in their selection. Let's dream of the restaurant of the future that is no longer just a simple restaurant, but also the promoter of terroir, seasonal, and better consumption patterns. Other chefs have also followed in Amandine Chaignot's footsteps, such as Laurent Petit*** at Le Clos des Sens, in the form of a farmer’s market within the restaurant or Ronan Kervarrec** in Saint-Emilion, by selling pre-ordered baskets. They all have the same desire to reconnect consumers to the people who grow their food. Let's hope this trend remains and that we don't act like teenagers!
"When you know the name of the person who has fished, the name of the farmer, it's already a guarantee of quality. When you are able to put a face behind a product it allows you to take an interest in what you eat.
Here are some of the local Farmers Chef Amandine Chaignot is selling the products from:
- Rhubarb from Domaine de la Source in Normandy
- Thierry Breton’s bread
- Fish from Roscoff
- Julie Brossard’s flowers
- Langevine Meat by Frederic Poupard
Watch the live conversation with Chef Amandine Chaignot: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CASt9mAIZC1/?igshid=od88a4w1rcrx
Learn more about Amandine Chaignot and her restaurant in Paris Pouliche: https://www.poulicheparis.com/
Special contributor @FRENCHEFS https://frenchefs.com/