Fulgurances, a Culinary Epic

Fulgurances, a Culinary Epic

Already a decade of breathtaking culinary projects for the well-oiled Fulgurances restaurant concept. The idea of chefs in residence that has captivated food lovers across the globe with its avant-gardism and creativity, starting with The Socialite Family. A tasty epic, the first chapter of which was written with the meeting of three gourmets, Rebecca Asthalter, Hugo Hivernat and Sophie Cornibert. Three lovers of good things who recognised each other in their vision of looking at cooking and gastronomy as “a feast” and today welcome us where it all began: their first opening in 2015, Fulgurances L’Adresse. Happy to wave the flag for “eating well as a way of life”, here, the trio has put into practice the idea of a taste experience based on novelty and the willingness to take risks with up-and-coming chefs coming from the four corners of the globe to prove themselves. A taste for the unusual and the surprising where the sense of detail is paramount, even beyond the plate. “The cutlery, the table setting, the lighting, the furniture”: every element in their company embodies this core value of “thoughtful simplicity that cultivates a taste for the timeless”. And all this in a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes you want your meal to continue indefinitely. For this first establishment, they worked with the young architect Louise Vergnaud, who set the architectural style for their restaurant brand: wood. Using warm ash as a signature timber that extends to all their other Paris locations as well as the latest one in New York! This creates a friendly and confidential setting where “design does not take up too much space” and allows each chef in residence to express themselves in their turn every six months. So many ways of cooking – driven by their respective cultures – that have inspired the hyperactive trio to develop their parallel activities: “magazines, events, content production, advice…” and to pursue their culinary adventures beyond these walls.

Fulgurances l’adresse, 10 Rue Alexandre Dumas, 75011 Paris. Open Monday to Wednesday from 19:00 to 21:45 and then from 12:00 to 13:45 and from 19:15 to 21:45. Reservation by phone on +33 (0)143 481459 or on www.fulgurances.com

Salle restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse dans le 11e arrondissement parisien
Livres de cuisine dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'adresse à Paris
Affiches dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse à Paris
Sophie, Rebecca and Hugo, can you introduce yourselves, please?
After studying cinema and working for three years with the Omnivore group, I very soon felt the need to tell the story of those who make contemporary cuisine. And that’s how Fulgurances was born. Meeting Hugo Hivernat led me to events and the founding dinners of Les Seconds Sont les Premiers. These days, I see myself more as a mediator or facilitator for future great cooks, and I love supporting them more than anything. I’m also the voice of Fulgurances on all communication media and social networks and the contact person for the press. And I’m the mother of a three-year-old, Melvil, whom I’m keen to introduce to taste and flavour.
I did a lot of travelling for the music industry, and then I stumbled upon avant-garde cuisine almost by chance. I was the one who led Fulgurances towards events and opening up to the world. I’m an insatiable person who needs to do, to create, to push the limits, both mine and those of others. You could say I’m the go-getter of the trio, constantly stimulated by the creation of new establishments, like the opening of Laundromat in New York. I’m also the one who manages the finances for Fulgurances and I steer my colleagues towards a longer-term vision. Wine has taken a prominent place in the Fulgurances establishments through my love of wine and vineyards.
Rebecca, Sophie & Hugo
After seven years of frantic work on the other side of the Atlantic for the best chefs in New York, I was missing Paris. It was during this period that I returned to the French capital, and I came across the Fulgurances project in 2014. And then, I started the first chef-in-residence restaurant, Fulgurances L’Adresse. I’m bilingual, and I translate all the texts for Fulgurances. I’m the contact person for all the foreign chefs. I also manage all the human resources and administrative aspects of L’Adresse; I support the chefs-in-residence and advise them so that they can assert themselves and show what they can really do. I met my husband, who is a chef, at a Fulgurances birthday party – the thirtieth edition of Les Seconds Sont les Premiers, in 2014.
How did you learn about what is good and what is beautiful?
Rebecca, Sophie & Hugo
For us, cooking and good eating are a family affair. We’ve been lucky enough to go to restaurants since we were children, and we have in common that we particularly liked doing so; it felt almost like going to a party. For us, eating well soon became a way of life. In a restaurant, we enjoy the food and what we have on our plates, but not only that, there is the restaurant outing, the ritual of discovering the menu, the novelty, the diversity, and the awakening that it brings. A restaurant is a gateway to a whole ecosystem of beauty and goodness. What’s more, at Fulgurances, everything has a special significance; every detail counts and has been thought through: the crockery, the cutlery, the table setting, the lighting, the wooden furniture; our world of thoughtful simplicity cultivates the Fulgurances taste for the timeless. If we were to name a few mentors in our education in aesthetics, we would spontaneously answer Helmo. In fact, it was the meeting with the graphic design team at Helmo studio in 2014 that shaped the aesthetics of Fulgurances, giving it this strong graphic identity that runs through everything. The author and journalist Andrea Petrini – who has been with us since the beginning of this hybrid adventure – is also one of our key figures. Just like the chef Alexandre Gauthier and his restaurant La Grenouillère, and the Septime group, which we consider to be a true model.
Affiche 10 ans de Fulgurances dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Chaise en bois avec assise velours rouge dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Verre à vin et table en bois dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse

Our aim was to design a timeless, warm place, a place that reflects us but where the design is not too overpowering, to leave room for the chefs-in-residence.

Mur miroir dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Étagères en bois dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Plat au restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
With your Fulgurances project, you decided to focus on an innovative restaurant format with chefs-in-residence. Can you explain this innovative concept you have instigated in Paris, please?
Rebecca, Sophie & Hugo
The Fulgurances project celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022, a decade of bold and important collaborations guided by our desire to highlight the chefs behind the scenes. By establishing them today as key players in contemporary culinary culture. That’s the unique essence of Fulgurances, made up of loyal relationships and unfailing friendships with the chefs who have passed through its kitchens. It gives the chefs’ residencies at Fulgurances a special flavour which sets this apart from all the other models that are around today. Here, the chef is welcomed as an artist would be at the Villa Medici: it is a question of creating out of necessity, not out of opportunity. We invented this model and kept it alive because, for us, it was what was needed then and what is still needed in the kitchen. To foster creativity, we have set up a structure behind the residency that gives the guest chefs all the stability they need to focus on their creative process, to take risks, and to make mistakes. It works, and they can always see how much they have developed between the beginning and the end of the residency. Magazines, events, content production, advice… all Fulgurances’ other parallel activities bear witness to these discoveries and feed off each other. This is also how we find the talent that we subsequently welcome. And now, the Fulgurances “label” is known and recognised among the chefs, the former chefs-in-residence talk about it, and the events spread the word. Nowadays, it is talented chefs who come to us to be welcomed into residence.
In 2014, you went further in your approach by publishing the magazine “Fulgurances Almanach” (Éditions Entorses). Why did you come up with this editorial side project?
Rebecca, Sophie & Hugo
From the start, “Fulgurances” has been a blog, so writing is part of our story. Since the beginning, we have been keen to review, to testify to all our discoveries. Publishing has always been an important part of our work. We have always wanted to put the chefs in the forefront, to know about their life journey, to address them, and to make them feel listened to. This is how our reviews, Itinéraires d’une Cuisine Contemporaine (Jpiurneys through contemporary cuisine), were born in 2014 as a result of our meeting with Helmo (our graphic designers, who gradually built the Fulgurances identity). We did four issues, 40 extended portraits and as many incredible trips. Since then, we have come up with the Almanac, a new format, more accessible, less rigid, and more dynamic too, which corresponds more to the times and to who we are.
Today, we are at L’Adresse, your first opening, nestled in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. What attracted you to the idea of Louise Vergnaud’s architectural signature to embody this place? What was the story you wanted to tell here?
Rebecca, Sophie & Hugo
This was Louise’s first project, and we were happy to give a beginner a chance; it seemed like a good thing to do, and perfectly aligned with our project. She was very involved in supporting us here, in our first place – we remember that she’d made a model for the first meeting. It was wonderful to be able to imagine how it would be. Louise made all the ceiling lights with her own hands after doing a metalwork course. At first, the place didn’t have much charm. She followed all our wishes. We wanted to be able to hear each other speak (and the ceiling is perfect for that), we also wanted light (so we opened it up to the street), plus an open kitchen (to give the impression of entering the kitchen as you enter the restaurant, to give a “laboratory” feel with a chef who’s accessible). Our aim was to design a timeless, warm place, a place that reflects us but where the design is not too overpowering, to leave room for the chefs-in-residence. We found wood to be the warmest, mainly ash, and you can find it in all the Fulgurances locations – from Paris to New York. Interestingly, when we found the premises for the future Laundromat, we learned that the cabinetmaker with whom we’d worked on rue Alexandre Dumas for L’Adresse and across the road had just moved to New York! So we set out to replicate this warm atmosphere; it suits us very well. We wanted a large mirror at the back of the room to reflect the light. To keep the warm feeling, we found dozens of bits of mirrors, and we had a large one made to measure to fit the wall.
Table en bois brute de ferme chez Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Affiches murales au restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Plat d'oranges chez Fulgurances, L'Adresse

For us, cooking and good eating are a family affair. We’ve been lucky enough to go to restaurants since we were children, and we have in common that we particularly liked doing so; it felt almost like going to a party.

Fleurs séchées dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adressse
Comptoir en bois chez Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Bouteilles en verre dans le restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Is there a piece in our collection that reflects the atmosphere that has been recreated here?
Rebecca, Sophie & Hugo
The Carlotta Alta table, of course! It immediately echoes the large, warm table; its rounded shapes, its warmly coloured wood. It would look great here with our mismatched chairs.
What does The Socialite Family mean to you?
Rebecca, Sophie & Hugo
Good taste, a touch of fun, and a fascinating combination of editorial, photo and object. We love the way you put things into perspective through telling stories. It makes us think of lives other than our own, of entering someone’s privacy as we do through cooking. It’s this cultural dimension that appeals to us.

Where will we see you next?

Rebecca, Sophie & Hugo
In New York! Come to Laundromat and all the restaurants opened by the chefs who have passed through our kitchens.
Cheffe en résidence à Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Cartes de visite au restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Menu au restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse
Devanture du restaurant Fulgurances, L'Adresse

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