Trois Chefs De Paris — The Paris Restaurant Scene

by Richard Nahem

I moved to Paris because of some romantic vision I had of France that turned out to entirely made up of things that I had seen in movies! The France I found was much more interesting, subtle, and romantic!

Daniel Rose

Chef/Owner of Spring, La Bourse et la Vie in Paris, and Le Coucou in New York.

Daniel Rose came to be a chef in Paris by a rather circuitous route. The Chicago native studied at the American University of Paris in order to improve his French and indulge his passion for food, then he enrolled at Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon. Little did he know down the road his foray into cooking school would blossom into a hugely successful restaurant business and international fame. He went on to train in the provinces of France to best get a foundation for French cooking. Rose continued to spread his wings and worked under some of the top chefs at three-star Michelin restaurants, including Paul Bocuse in Lyon, Jean-Pierre Bruneau in Brussels, and Yan- nick Alleno at the Le Meurice in Paris. After a life-altering experience work- ing as head chef at a restaurant for a year in 2003 in Panajachel, Guatemala, he headed back to Paris inspired and determined.

Daniel Rose

Daniel Rose

In 2006, Rose opened his first restaurant Spring (6 rue Bailleul, Paris, France. Tel: +33-1459-60572., a tiny space seating only 16 people in the then seedy 9th arrondissement, now known as the trendy SoPi (southern Pigalle) area. Rose was one of the first chefs to serve a five mini-course surprise menu with other chefs soon repeating the trend.

The success was swift even in the pre-social-media era, and it soon became the hottest table in town with a five-month waiting list. Due to the gargantuan demand, Spring moved to a larger, more designed multi-level space in 2010 near the Louvre. Rave reviews poured in from the press including the Guardian’s “One of 10 of the Best Restaurants in Paris,” and Forbes’ “The Trophy Reservation,” plus accolades from important food luminaries such as Gail Simmons, Alan Richman, Tim and Nina Zagat, Danny Meyer, and Alain Ducasse.

In 2015, Rose went on to open La Bourse et la Vie (12 rue Vivienne, Paris, France. Tel: +33-1426-00883. an updated take on classic bistro food, and earlier this year opened Le Coucou (138 Lafayette St, New York, NY. Tel: 212-271-4252. in NewYork, a bonafide hit already.

Rose’s newest venture in partnership with American Restauranteur Stephen Starr in Paris is Chez La Vieille (1 rue Bailleul, Paris. Tel: +33-01-4260-1578), a traditional bistro in a gorgeous former private mansion. The successful team from Spring is being rounded up to run Chez La Vieille including Chef Oleg Olexin in the kitchen and Remi Segura who will oversee the restaurant’s wine selection. Familiar bistro dishes such as hareng pommes à l’huile (herring with potatoes in olive oil); duck terrine Adrienne; La blanquette (stew) de la Vieille, and the signature Le demi coquelet (half chicken) à la diable.

How old were you when you first started having an interest in food and when did you start cooking?
I became interested in cooking professionally after finishing my degree in Paris. I wanted to stay in France and with a degree in art history and philos- ophy, I was highly unqualified to do anything more than continue to learn, so I followed my ‘gut’ to Lyon to learn to eat and cook.

What brought you to Paris?
I moved to Paris because of some romantic vision I had of France that turned out to entirely made up of things that I had seen in movies! The France I found was much more interesting, subtle, and romantic!

Did you have any difficulty breaking into the Paris restaurant scene?
I was lucky that I really wasn’t worrying about whether or not I was breaking into the scene. I was so focused on cooking and taking care of guests and running the restaurant that I was almost surprised that other chefs were excited by what I was up to.

Which French chefs did you work for before you opened Spring, and what was your training like?
I had a sort of personal kitchen Tour de France. I worked in Brittany, near Avignon, and in Paris…I always began as a trainee in each new restaurant and tried to make myself useful in any way I could…I worked for some big names and some not so big names…all excellent chefs.

You first restaurant was Spring. What was it like for an American to open a restaurant in Paris and what was the reaction of the Parisians?
Opening a restaurant in Paris was exhilarating. Parisians were thrilled. I was writing the equivalent of restaurant love letters to France, who doesn’t like that?

Please tell us the theme of your new Paris restaurant Chez la Vieille and your first New York restaurant Le Coucou.
The love letters continue! Chez la Vieille is an ode to the very simple traditions of France: a glass of wine, uncomplicated and familiar tastes, fun and warm service—and especially no reservations. Le Coucou is as much a celebration of France as of the ‪grand restaurant‬ of New York. An elegant room, sophisticated wine service, a fresh look at classic French cooking.

What’s next for you?
I’m excited to enjoy all of the things I have created over the last ten years, and to help my teams to grow and dream up the next adventure!

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