French Chef Éric Fréchon On Keeping The Magic Alive After 20 Years At Le Bristol Paris
Gourmands who visit Paris looking for Michelin-starred experiences would eventually find their way to Le Bristol Paris, situated within the illustrious Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Home to three-starred Epicure and one-starred 114 Faubourg, the hotel currently holds the record of having the most Michelin stars under one roof in the city.
Part of its success can be attributed to culinary legend Éric Fréchon, who bears the prestigious titles of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France) and Légion d’Honneur. Since the executive chef joined the team in 1999, the renowned fine dining restaurant Epicure (which already held one star) has earned and retained the highest Michelin distinction since 2009. When French brasserie 114 Faubourg opened in 2013, it also achieved one Michelin star which it has kept until today.
Fréchon admitted to T.Dining in an e-mail interview that it’s no easy feat, especially in a city peppered with award-winning restaurants. “But the secret is to not take anything for granted,” he lets on.
That’s why he and his talented culinary team (who handles all the dining concepts in the hotel) are always in the creation process—whether it’s crafting new dishes, improving signatures or making slight tweaks to the service. “We always bear in mind that nothing is permanent,” he notes.
It’s also the reason why after working at Le Bristol Paris for two decades, you’ll still find Fréchon involved in the daily kitchen operations such as inspecting the quality of the products they receive every morning. High-quality ingredients, he professes, are the foundation of his classic but contemporary style of cooking—dubbed “Signature Frechon”.
To celebrate 20 years with the hotel as well as a decade of holding three Michelin stars for Epicure, Fréchon has crafted the 20th Anniversary menu (which will be available as a signature menu come 2020).
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He has revived some of his signature dishes that serve as milestones in his notable career. Among the starters are the beautifully assembled mousseline potatoes and smoked haddock on a bed of caviar from Sologne.
For mains, highlights include the visually stunning stuffed macaroni with black truffle, artichoke and duck foie gras, and his most famous dish, the ambrosial Bresse farm hen poached with wine, crayfish, sweet offal and black truffles.
Dessert is courtesy of his pastry chef Julien Alvarez, who created the most exquisite form of indulgence—cocoa-nib nuggets from Guatemala, caramelised with sea salt and served with smoked vanilla milk foam and ice cream.
Twenty years may seem like a lifetime, but for Fréchon, it seems like he’s only getting started. “I want to continue creating and sharing my dishes with guests who come from all over the world… this is my passion.”