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Restaurant Hélène Darroze.

Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Chteaux in town. France,Paris

Hélène Darroze

Chef
Restaurant Hélène Darroze Paris 75006

I’m part of the fourth generation of a family of innkeepers, so I was born in a kitchen and grew up next to my grandfather's stove. After I left school at 18, I studied at one of the big business schools. Then I joined Alain Ducasse at the Louis XV in Monaco to work in the office. I stayed there for three years, until Alain persuaded me to get in front of a cooker. He taught me always to look for quality when choosing ingredients, but also to be constantly rigorous and to combine it with honest cooking with real, authentic flavour.

I then joined my father at his Relais & Châteaux in Villeneuve-de-Marsan, which gave me the chance to express what I felt instinctively. Five years later, I opened my own restaurant in Paris.
The two openings – one in Paris and one in London – are still the most intense moments of my life in spite of how difficult it was at the time.

I cook with ingredients from the south-west of France where I was born, which appeal to how I've always lived and to my emotions.


What was your most moving culinary experience?
I think there are four: the first ortolan I ate when I was a little girl; tasting a duck cooked in a sauce made with its own blood at the Tour d’Argent when I was a teenager; discovering tartufi di Alba truffles on a simple dish of pasta cooked in stock when I arrived at the Louis XV, and recently a really great meal at Michel Troisgros'.

The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
When the gas went off in the kitchens at the Connaught for the first sitting the day the restaurant opened. It lasted 45 minutes. We might not have laughed at the time, but we certainly do now.

Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Cook a good casserole. It’s hard to get it wrong! And it’s the perfect meal for sharing with lots of people.


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