“My first taste world is that of Lyon gastronomy, in which I was immersed until the age of 19: in my childhood, we consumed a lot of offal, cream sauces, brioche sausages, and when we had something to celebrate, we went to Bocuse. Born in Dijon, I grew up in Lyon, I like to go back and eat there from time to time, but I don’t have much affinity with this city. I feel much more readily Corsican than Lyonnais.
I have a very Mediterranean family: my two grandfathers were Corsican, my grandmother was from Ischia, in Italy, the other grandmother from Catalonia. All my grandparents, Pied-Noirs, met in Algeria, then they scattered in the south of France. As a child, in summer, I went to my grandparents in Corsica, where my father still lives half the time. It is a place that I love, with a particular Mediterranean cuisine, more mountainous than maritime.
“I didn’t do a cooking school, nor internships with great chefs who could have shaped my style. “
I improvised as a cook halfway through, after having been an entrepreneur-restaurateur. I did not do a cooking school, nor internships with great chefs who could have shaped my style. When I took to the kitchen off the cuff, to take over the interim in my restaurant Bones renamed Jones, I had mainly worked with Anglo-Saxon chefs like Shaun Kelly, James Henry, Edward Delling-Williams or Harry Vidler. I first cooked by mimicry: I made scotch eggs, « pies », pig « nose to tail » (nose to tail) like at St John’s restaurant in London, which most of these chefs have been through.
It was only when I moved to the Café du Coin, two years ago, that I started to draw my own culinary landscape, with a few constraints: I wanted to create a neighborhood bistro, which is also the evening, a bar where you can snack. I had the idea of making individual pizzas, pizzettes, so that we can order plenty, taste everything. For the sake of consistency, I took my inspirations to the side of Italy, I made my first fresh pasta, my pizza dough. I felt that the decor was planted naturally, easily. For the dough, I took a detour through New York: I took the recipe from Roberta’s, a brilliant hybrid place in Brooklyn, which is a pizzeria, brasserie and gourmet restaurant all at the same time.
When I moved into the Café du Coin, in a place that resembled me, I also went to eat with the neighbors. I was very marked by the delicate Lebanese touches of Omar Koreteim in Mokonuts, or the delicious Israeli cuisine of Tamir Nahmias (now at Adar) when he piloted Fulgurances. I have tamed the spices, the zaatar, the labneh. I, who had a very rustic, profitable, rudimentary vision of cooking, discovered that we could do fine without it becoming expensive or precious.
“Somewhere between Italy and Lebanon, between Algeria and Corsica, my culinary landscape has refined. »
Little by little, I made the link with my history, my childhood, my family, my grandfather’s farm and orchards in Algeria; Corsican smokes, stews and cooking in the fireplace… Somewhere between Italy and Lebanon, between Algeria and Corsica, my culinary landscape has refined, and I felt myself becoming a cook. Here, I take the time to think, to adjust to the seasons, to work on the whole product, without throwing anything away. The leftovers from the day before make the starters of the day, the stew becomes a ravioli stuffing, the eel trimmings turn into broth, the broad bean salad garnishes the pizzettes.
The pizzette is a blank canvas where I can compose, have fun, use everything. I improvise my lunch menu in the morning at 8 am, with my coffee at the counter. I am looking for frank and fresh tastes. No more than three or four ingredients on the plate, it’s important that you can smell each element. And colors, contrasts, volumes. I am not very keen on dressage, I create my plates “as if they had fallen from the tree”. It is my spontaneous landscape. And it changes every day. “
Le Café du Coin, 9, rue Camille-Desmoulins, Paris 11e, Phone. : 01-48-04-82-46.