Destinations Magazine

Children of Famous Chefs: a Mixed Story.

By Johntalbott

Just as is the case of doctors, lawyers and I suppose Indian chiefs, whose children are more likely to follow in their footsteps than seek other careers, chefs’ kids also pursue culinary careers.  In the past few weeks, I’ve seen the phenomenon enough times to be impressed by it, as well.

Let’s start with 3-star Annie-Sophie Pic who followed her father and grandfather into the kitchens in Valence starting at age 23.  She’s recently opened a place in Paris, it too called La Dame de Pic.  And while it had moments or a moment of excellence, it really didn’t fare well by my rating scale and I wound giving it a 5.5/10, which broke down as follows:
8.0 Outside
8.0 Decor
8.0 Nappery, glasses, knives
8.0 Welcome
8.0 Service
6.0 Wine price-quality ratio
4.0 Food
1.0 Noise level
1.0 Food price-quality ratio
1.0 Pretentiousness

Then there’s the less well-known Pierre Meneau but who also comes from fine origins, Dad Marc having run L’Esperance in Vezelay 40 years, garnering 3 stars along the way as well.  His new place in Paris Crom’Exquis is superb as well, featuring the signature cromequis’s themselves as well as wonderfully sourced and prepared fish and meat, not omitting great desserts.

There’s also Arnaud Daguin, who is actually probably better known as brother of Ariane of D’Artagnan fame than Dad Andre who ran the famed two-star Hotel de France in Auch and served up a mean all duck dinner.  Unfortunately, since he left his farm-auberge Hegia in the Basque country he’s been doing star-turns in Paris, first at the Pleyel restaurant and then at the Grandes Tables de l’Ile Seguin and somehow even designing the menus and training the chefs is not the same as his hands-on cooking (which we were treated to years ago in Auch).

Finally, there’s Helene Darroze, originally from Villeneuve-de-Marsan where she cooked in a three generation tradition restaurant but sadly, I have found her meals in her eponymous place in the 6th to border on the inedible and am grateful that the Brits whom she now feeds at the Connaught are happier.

Where I would recommend you go for great children of chefs’ meals:

6.9 Crom'Exquis
22, rue d'Astorg in the 8th
T: 74
Closed weekends
Lunch formulas at 28 and 39 E; dinner 40 and 70.

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