Alain Senderens: gastronomy and restaurants

Conversations with Alain Senderens, one of France’s greatest chefs

In this episode: gastronomy and restaurants

This is a video series in six parts:

The series is based on short videos that I recorded when I met Senderens at his restaurant.

The conversations are in French but you can choose your language in the YouTube videos:

  1. Turn on “closed captions” by clicking on the CC icon in the lower right-hand corner
  2. Select your preferred language by clicking the cogwheel icon and selecting the Subtitles/CC language (NB: you have to do it in this order)

You can also read the article about Alain Senderens that was the result of this meeting. It was originally published in a different version in Chef Magazine, now published in a more complete version on Forbes and an extended version on Alain Senderens on BKWine Magazine.

The text introductions below are just that, introductions to what you can find on the videos. It is obviously not complete transcriptions.

Alain Senderens, gastronomy and restaurants

Restaurant Alain Senderens at Place de la Madeleine

Restaurant Alain Senderens at Place de la Madeleine, copyright BKWine Photography, this image may NOT be used elsewhere

Always think of the customer

The customer is always in the centre. He must want to come back. But, spending time in the dining room to converse with customers is not his thing…

The trends and tendencies for the future

What is the future for gastronomy and restaurants? We have had traditional cuisine, la nouvelle cuisine, fusion food, molecular cuisine… What will we have tomorrow?

How the customers have changed in the restaurant

The era of the cool restaurant? How is the customer changing? Are the restaurant’s customers different today than yesterday? Customers are getting younger and younger which changes the atmosphere to be more relaxed. There is also more talk about the dishes and especially people are more relaxed to talk about wine. Finally, customers are now more gastronomic and more relaxed.

An Alain Senderens wine glass

An Alain Senderens wine glass, copyright BKWine Photography, this image may NOT be used elsewhere

The one and only rule to for a young to have to be successful in the restaurant trade

By the way, not only in the restaurant trade. Senderens: “there is only one rule: rigour” (i.e. stringency, discipline, ethics and more). And rigour involves a lot of things. For example, passion. There is no other solution.

And when you go to other restaurants? The importance of the quality of the raw material

And when Senderens goes to other restaurants? It’s difficult? First of all, the thing that has always been important for Senderens is the quality of the products, the raw material. With that, a discussion on how to manage quality in his own restaurant. At home, as with wine, he does not want products that are too expensive. You have to be intellectually honest. We see everything when we go to a restaurant. Whatever the level, there must be respect for value for money.

Conversations with Alain Senderens, one of the greatest chefs in France. Throughout his career Senderens was a pioneer in French cuisine and especially for the pairing of food and wine. He was one of the first (maybe the first?) to propose a “wine menu” with a different wine to each dish. It was Senderens who gave wine the place it deserved at the table. He also jostled and shocked the gastronomic establishment of France when, in 2005, he “returned” his three Michelin stars to make French haute cuisine more democratic. His restaurant, that carried his name “Alain Senderens” on Place de la Madeleine, nevertheless remained one of the best restaurants in France, but with less luxury. He was also one of the great modernizers of the gastronomy and restaurant business in France, one of the founders of the nouvelle cuisine, and much more.

Alain Senderens died on June 25, 2017. The conversations were recorded on November 10, 2011 at the restaurant Alain Senderens on the Place de la Madeleine in Paris.

This post is also available in: Swedish

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