Paris's Expat Chefs: Take Two
In the first of our two-part series of Paris’ expat chefs, Le Mary-Celeste’s Mads Christensen, The Broken Arm’s Linda Granebring, and Dersou’s Taku Sekine shared with us their reasons for coming to—and staying in—the storied capital. Round two brings you three more culinary nomads from Canada, Australia, and Italy, respectively. From poached brain in butter and bone marrow to Bob Marley, get to know the places they eat, the tunes they listen to in the kitchen and their plans for the future.
Welcome back to the world of Parisian expat chefs.
Lina Caschetto, 31 Canada
Where do you work? Pas de Loup
How long have you been in Paris? A year and a half—seven months at Pas de Loup—and this is the first time I have ever lived outside of Vancouver!
Why did you decide to come to Paris? I'd been here nine or so years ago and could never get this city out of my mind. Eventually my life at home freed up enough for me to be able to get outta dodge. So I bought a one-way ticket the first chance I got, sold all my things and hopped on a plane.
Do you think Paris is still the world’s foremost culinary capital? Yes and no. France is so inherently steeped in old-school food culture that in some ways I feel like it has been holding itself back. I hate to say it, but there is a lot of bad/mediocre food in Paris... I think at the same time we are on the verge of something. Bistronomie was founded here and that as a movement has shaped a path for much of the modern cuisine that exists in Paris. Plus, there are plenty of expats who are up to really interesting stuff as well, and are probably helping push the French palette forward even further (I hope that there aren't too many French people reading this...)
What’s next for you? For now, just killin' it at Pas de Loup. We have some really fun chef collaborations planned for this coming year. The next one—a Cuban sandwich night which I’m super excited for—is at the end of this month. Oh! And I am getting an oven in my kitchen really soon which is really going to up the ante. Beyond that, well who knows? I've got a few ideas of my own that I want to put into play… All in good time!
Top eating out recommendations for anyone visiting Paris for a day?
It's Monday. Quick, before you do anything else, get a yourself reservation at Il Brigante, a pizzeria in the 18e. The owner is Italian and gregarious, you sit (basically) on top of the person next to you, the kitchen is in the middle of the room and the large thin crust pizzas will not disappoint. How could you go wrong? For the rest of the day, get yourself down to HolyBelly for some eggs etc., Ten Belles for a coffee and a walk down the canal and, if you stay in the hood and are stillllll hungry after all that, stop by El Nopal and say “hi” to Emmanuel for me—and eat a gordita (or two), while you’re at it!
What’s one thing you learned in Paris that has always stuck with you? How you can create whatever you want for your life by reaching for your goals and enrolling as many willing and supportive people around you as possible. I have been lucky enough to know quite a few of them!
Do you have a theme song? It changes often, but my theme song right now is Could You Be Loved by Bob Marley and the Wailers, because seriously, who doesn't feel happy and want to groove around the kitchen when they hear that song!?
Simone Tondo, 28 Italy
Where do you work? Tondo
How long have you been in Paris? 7.5 years
Why did you decide to come to Paris? To experience another type of kitchen and style. Food in France is different: people in Italy eat at home, whereas people in France eat in restaurants
Do you think Paris is still the world’s foremost culinary capital? Yes, there’s good competition here. There’s also a lot of respect for products, and Paris is rich in products.
What’s next for you? Tondo is still fresh, but one day I would like to open a hotel. More of a villa—six rooms—with a restaurant in Sardinia...
Top eating out recommendations for anyone visiting Paris for a day? Le Baratin. Order the poached brain in butter and bone marrow!
One thing you’ve learned in Paris that has always stuck with you? Be positive to live well.
Theme song? Martina Topley Bird by Phoenix
Peter Orr, 28 Australia
Where do you work? Bar Martin
How long have you been in Paris? A little over 2 years
Why did you decide to come to Paris? I was actually in between jobs in London when the opportunity arose to come to Paris to help out some friends for a month who were already working here. Everything went really well and I loved it. After the month was over i was offered a full time position and that was that.
Do you think Paris is still the world’s foremost culinary capital? I’m going to have to go with no, unfortunately. I think it used to be, but got stuck in its ways and that fact let other cities catch up and even surpass it. That being said, in the last few years Paris has seen many young international chefs come and cook here, bringing with them new ideas and new energy. All this is very exciting for the Paris food scene.
What’s next for you? I’m currently in the process of opening a breakfast/lunch place with a close friend of mine and her sister which I am very excited about. There are talks of a restaurant to follow, but it is still early days. We’re getting ready for this summer as it is our busiest time of year and we have to make sure we’re consistently getting better and that our customers are happy!
Top eating out recommendations for anyone visiting Paris for a day? Definitely start the day with coffee from Foundation Cafe and croissant from near by bakery Tout Autour du Pain. Deux Fois Plus de Piment is my favourite Chinese place in town, and is perfect for lunch. For dinner it’s got to be La Bourse et la Vie, classic french cooking (done by foreigners, of course) that’s always on point.
What’s one thing you learned in Paris that has always stuck with you? Just to make sure you’re enjoying your cooking. It may sound simple, but happy cooks really do make the best food. If the staff are happy that energy will transfer to the customers, and everyone will have a good time.
Do you have a theme song? Maybe not a theme song, but the song I listen to the most is probably Don’t Mug Yourself by The Streets.