In a world where everything is always about superlatives, Chef Julien Allano is thinking about how to give sense and cohesion to his cuisine. Looking for a meaning, with passion and a strong commitment for doing good, the dishes served in his restaurant Au Clair de la Plume obeys to one and only rule: the one stated by Nature itself. Maximize every little thing that comes to us. And answer 3 crucial questions: Why? When? How?
What Mother Earth gives us
Why? Because it is impossible to ignore some things are wrong… And that actions must be taken. The Chef has therefore taken a simple decision: everything must come from less than 70km/43 miles. Products must be local seasonal and must be respected. All the protein comes from local producers. “Our pigeons come from Le Pigeon de Monsieur Durand located at Roche-St-Secret, less than 17km/10 miles away. The guinea fowls are from Quentin Edmont, 12km/7 miles from here. The pigs are from the Ventoux.” explains Allano.
And all the vegetables also come from local producers such as Sylvain Erhard which vegetables are highly respected an honored by Allano’s cuisine. His production, hist story and the sense he gives to his products help the Chef to find his own message.
No beef nor veal will be found in Allano’s menu. Because it’s not produced in the region. No fish will be served if it is not seasonal. In other words, no consumption that could jeopardize the very fragile balance of the ecosystem.
It is about getting the essentials. What is right. What makes sense. And having to do with what is available creates beautiful opportunities. “When you look for something you find it”. And usually it is right there, a few miles away. Unexpected encounters can come from this search. Like finding producers of vinegar at « La vinaigrerie de l’Apparat » in Nyons. Or getting almonds from Monsieur Losier à Château-neuf-sur-Rhône just a few kilometers/ miles away.
“I only cook what the producers are able to bring to me” says Allano. Nature decides. The menu evolves and customers get it. The producer and his product are at the center of the plate and there is no false promises. And creativity starts from there. From getting the produces from Earth. And from looking for a meaning and a purpose to cooking.
Celebrate the season
When? The season dictates when and how much is given to us. Therefore, the menu cannot be a fixed thing and must be adaptable. And so must be the customer. When a Chef like Allano only works with local products, seasons are found in the plates. And customers understand it. Even when most of the Michelin star restaurants offer a menu with choice, customers are now understanding the process of letting the Chef guide them into an experience; called “Menu Confiance” in Allano’s menu.
There is a sense of freedom in this way of cooking. Allano says, “there was, for me, a liberating impulse to be able to offer only what the producers were able to provide me, it gave us a new momentum to have something to tell that makes sense”.
Use everything, do not waste
How to achieve the best results with limited, or at least, given resources? By using every single piece of it. The perfect example is the lamb. Allano explains he gets 5 lambs. Not just racks, but the entire animal. If his menu was only about racks of lamb, he would need, to feed the same amount of people he is going to feed, around 60 lambs. Completely unreasonable!
So instead, those 5 lambs are going to be grilled, fired, seasoned, made into a kebab, confit, shredded, served with a chickpea mousse or eaten with the fingers and re-discovered for everyone who is a gourmet! Same thing with pork. Or with a celery with roots, and its leaves that can bring extreme flavor and texture to a dish.
Our job, for Revol and for our Eco Ambassadors like Allano is to explain our actions and why we took the time to achieve this. He highlights the importance of clarity in the message and in the flavors. So that Gourmets can embrace his authentic, fun and contemporary approach of cuisine!
Photos par Alain Maigre