Michel Bachès and his wife, Bénédicte, of Le Mas Bachès, are citrus producers in the Southern region of France—the Oriental Pyrenees. They cultivate around 1,500 different varieties of citrus fruit; Kalamansi mandarin, Meyer lime, cedrat, Buddha hand, Kumquat, Bergamot and more. All of these varieties were sourced by their travels around the world. Their nursery is more than a simple nursery, it is a laboratory where Michel and his wife play, try, taste and invent new citrus flavours for their chefs and their own curiosity and passion. For me, citrus flavours and colours compensate for cold, winter vegetables. I can’t imagine winter without creative, citrus flavours.
Nil Street is a very little cobbled street located in the heart of Paris where my restaurants are located. It’s also home to Terroirs d’Avenir and l’Arbre à café. We are a small unit offering a new version of tasty food, in a respectful nature to both humans and nature. Terroirs d’Avenir was founded five years ago by Alexandre Drouard and Samuel Nahon. They supply some of the best restaurants in Paris with fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and meat—such as Bigorre black pork of Pierre Matayron, snails from Marinette and foie gras from Maison Paris—from very small and ethical French producers. Around six months ago they created a London firm to provide the city with French products. In the meantime, they are looking for English farmers and fisherman to work with—heir fight is for quality and locality.
L’arbre a café was founded by Hippolyte Courty and the coffee is sourced and created by passionate and ethical producers. L’Arbre a Café provides coffee to all of our restaurants. We love his coffee because it is aromatic, full of flavour and has a pleasant acidity on the palate.
Sylvain Erhardt is a French asparagus producer at Roques Hautes. His farm is in the South of France (Provence) and his asparagus grows in fields and in naturally warmed greenhouses. We love to cook with his asparagus because it is full of sweetness—I love to eat it raw or simply grilled in dishes such as Asparagus with yellow wine sabayon or the asparagus with smoked tarama, spring garlic and bergamot.
My two chefs, François Roche and Matteo Nardin, met Richard and his wife at their farm, Huntsham Court Farm in Herefordshire (England), where he rears Middle White pigs and Longhorn cattle, as Richard wanted to be transparent about how he works. Richard lets his animals grow and allows time for his meat to reach a specific flavour. That is essentially what I look for in the meat I cook with—the taste of a specific breed and the taste of its maturity. It’s all about time; time to grow, to mature and to cook. I look to cook the entire pig—the head, the belly, everything. A pig offers many opportunities and lots of inspiration. For example, I like to cook pulled pork, terrine, bacon or pork neck cooked in a salt crust. Now we are starting to use his 72-day aged Longhorn beef at Frenchie. We serve it with broccoli, anchovy and a crumble of feta.
Miles Irving collects wild edible plants from all over the UK. I met him at Fifteen restaurant, [when] one day he came in with a full basket of herbs. This was the first time I met wild products in a kitchen. I also once went with him to forage and discovered Alexander’s Plant—it’s like a wild celery. Ten years later, now I am back in London to open Frenchie Covent Garden, and I have discovered that Miles works with many chefs in London. I am particularly happy to have discovered his cookbook recently, too! Using wild plants is a way for me to root my cuisine. Wild herbs remind me that there are not only four seasons, but many more—nature offers new products everyday, every week, every month, every year.
Find out more about Frenchiehere |www.frenchiecoventgarden.com