Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question

Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question

The pâté en croûte served at the presidential dinner on 13 July this year, that brought Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump together around the same table, was his. Arnaud Nicolas, charcutier Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2004 has opened his second place in the last twelve months, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. In the shop that bears his name, it’s not just charcuterie and terrines that the prodigy treats us to. These top-flight creations, that you could enjoy up until now at the Rive-Droite au Boudoir, in the Frères Metzger butcheries and in the bistronomic restaurants of Alain Ducasse, now rub shoulders with a menu designed in line with the seasons. A wish on the part of Arnaud, who had wanted – right from the get-go – to offer something different, like a logical follow-on to a career mixing experience in cooking and his core profession. At the touch of his hands, charcuterie becomes “cooked”, enhanced like an haute couture piece by the combinations of remarkable flavours immaculately presented. Available, to our great delight, to take away deli-style, these sculptures of taste are easy to visualise on our festive tables. And since Arnaud Nicolas and his partner Stéphane Dufaut seem to know how to turn their hands to anything, we feel emboldened to ask for food and wine pairing ideas, in addition to our gastronomic purchases. Never mean with his advice, the chef has slipped some in at the end of the article. A word to the wise!

Arnaud Nicolas, Restaurant & Boutique :  46, avenue de la Bourdonnais – 75007 Paris

Pâté en croûte Boutique Restaurant Arnaud Nicolas
Salle Boutique Restaurant Arnaud Nicolas
Salle Boutique Restaurant Arnaud Nicolas
Luminaires Suspension Boutique Restaurant Arnaud Nicolas

Arnaud, could you tell us about yourself? What has been your career path so far?

Arnaud

I completed my “CAP” – basic vocational training – before obtaining a “BEP” – more advanced vocational training – in charcuterie. My career then led me to experience working in a number of different specialist charcuteries, and taking part in a number of contests, culminating in the MOF title in 2004.

How did your professional life change once you had one the MOF award – as one of the “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” – France’s Best Craftspeople?

Arnaud

Just after winning the award, it was both a positive thing – wonderful to be recognised professionally – as well as quite difficult to manage, because you lack experience at the age of 24. Today, looking back, I can say that it was a formative experience.

Why did you open this venue, which is an ode to “charcuterie cuisine?” Is it the logical conclusion from your early career?

Arnaud

I didn’t see myself owning a traditional charcuterie store. I also wanted to take my profession in a slightly different direction. It was the natural outcome of my professional training, a blend of restaurant cooking and charcutiere. I need both to express myself fully.

You don’t just sell charcuterie products here, but also full meals. Why? What did you need to add to offer such a comprehensive menu?

Arnaud

A mix of skilled personnel and my own inspiration. My experience in Monaco at the Hôtel de Paris under the chef, Frank Cerutti, enabled me to find my own culinary identity. Then I went on to strike my own balance.

Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question
Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question
Salle Boutique Restaurant Arnaud Nicolas
Foies gras Boutique Restaurant Arnaud Nicolas

What is the concept for the restaurant?

Arnaud

The restaurant menu is designed around the seasons. That’s the most important thing. We regularly rotate the different vegetables, fish, and meat, always making sure we have one fish product and one meat dish made with the charcuterie method. It depends on how I feel at any given time and the people I’m working with. It’s a holistic approach.

Where do you take your inspiration from when you’re reinventing the French tradition of charcuterie?

Arnaud

From our traditions specifically, in the core recipes that I revisit without distorting their original impact too much.

Can you tell us about your most striking culinary memory?

Arnaud

In the Louis XV restaurant on the day when I first showed up at the Hotel de Paris. I was meeting with Frank Cerutti, it was noon, and he told me, “You’ll be having lunch in the Louis XV“. I ate a risotto made with porcini mushrooms, which showed off the mushroom in all its different forms. It was a truly extraordinary experience. Seeing the finished product like that, and everything that went into creating it, was so memorable.

Boutique Restaurant Portrait Arnaud Nicolas
Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question
Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question
Salle Boutique Restaurant Arnaud Nicolas

What is your flagship product, the one that is your customers’ favourite?

Arnaud

Pâté en croûte, which changes following the season.

Could you suggest some surprisingly different recipes for the festive season? If so, could you give our readers some ideas for tasty combinations of food?

Arnaud

Yes – we prepare special charcuterie dishes for our end-of-year festivities. Both in the store and in the restaurant, by the way. For example, you can find our foie gras with truffles, plain, with red wine or “mendiants de foie gras” – a kind of bread pudding. Our pâté en croûte as well – with poultry [mieux de préciser chicken/duck/goose etc.] foie gras, poultry pâté with leafy greens, quail, pork, foie gras and dried fruit, or Richelieu (a kind of pork pie). Meanwhile we also have our charcuterie pastries, with our Bundt cake made from poultry, crayfish and red wine. As for what you can combine it with, it varies depending on the palate. Our favourite food and wine combination at the moment, which go well with charcuteries and with “boudin” sausages: for white wine, Clos du Val d’Éléon du Domaine by Marc Kreydenweiss in Alsace, and Brouilly by Jean-Louis Dutraive of the Domaine de la Grand’Cour for reds.

Any plans for the end of 2017 and the start of 2018?

Arnaud

Yes!

Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question
Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question
Arnaud Nicolas, Charcuterie in Question
Salle restaurant boutique Arnaud Nicolas

Deco inspiration...

Liberté, the New Patisserie-Bakery

Liberté, the New Patisserie-Bakery

Let the foodies rejoice, Liberté, a patisserie-bakery unlike any other, has been established in Rue des Vinaigriers for a few years. Here, the emphasis is on transparency with a spirit half-way between an artist’s studio and a...

You may also like

Aucun comment

Add your comment

Be the First to Know

Captured Moments. Interiors. Personalities. Every week, just for you.