Is the chef French in a French restaurant?


Last night we took a walk over to St.Germain-des-Pres which is one of our favorite places to take an evening stroll and pop into a restaurant for a casual dinner. Once you wander off the main boulevard, St. Germain-des-Pres,the streets narrow – and the restaurants per square meter multiply quickly. You’ll find tons of restaurants on both sides of the boulevard – we have yet to find one that has really enchanted us to the point of going back for a second meal. It’s more a question of ambiance for a fairly reasonable price. For instance, the restaurant we did eventually stumble into advertised ‘traditional French cuisine’. The decorations were charming with wooden clogs (sabots) hanging from the rafters. We noted that the dinner crowd was mostly French with a smattering of English and Spanish-speaking guests.
I won’t bother telling you the name of the restaurant because it wouldn’t be one I’d recommend – and I don’t like to badmouth a restaurant that might be perfectly acceptable to others.

A dinner menu of 12 Euros for example is a very good price in Paris. For two people we were able to have two main courses, one appetizer and a carafe of wine for under 40 Euros – so one shouldn’t complain – and the cuisine was French – but the chefs weren’t. Take a look in many Parisian kitchens today and you will find chefs that are Sri Lanken, Lebanese, Neapolitan, Greek, Chinese, etc. but what percentage of Parisian chefs in the average restaurant are native French?

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This is simply to say you might have a good meal in Paris, but if you’re expecting to taste, for example, a ‘traditional’ fish soup, you might be better off hopping on a train headed for Normandy or Britanny.

Or, if you don’t have that option and you’re looking for a ‘traditional French meal in Paris, I would suggest (if you dare) to take a peak in the kitchen and ask who’s cooking?