Frédéric Vardon, Le 39V, Paris, France
Frédéric Vardon was born in Normandy into a family of charcutiers and farmers. His passion for cuisine was passed down to him from his grandmother, who taught him that food should be made with love, and should be made for sharing.
After completing an apprenticeship with Jean-Pierre Morot-Gaudry and training with Alain Dutournier, in 1988 Frédéric Vardon joined Alain Chapel’s culinary team at Mionnay. This experience confirmed all that his grandmother had taught him, and cemented his deep attachment to French cuisine and his love of great products. In 1994, he left to team up with Alain Ducasse, where he spent 14 years working at Ducasse’s renowned restaurants around the world including Spoon, Benoit Tokyo, and Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.
Frédéric Vardon now heads the team at Le 39V, a peaceful haven built on the rooftops of 39, Avenue George V in Paris. Awarded its first Michelin star in February 2012, Le 39V offers guests a cuisine that is tasty and honest, bringing them the best flavours of the best products available.
Chef Frédéric took the time to tell us what he’s looking forward to about this year’s Festival – and what we can look forward to from his menu.
What are you most excited about with regards to participating in this year’s World Gourmet Festival?
The thing that really encouraged me to participate in the World Gourmet Festival is the fact that the values and visions represented are the same as mine – we’re here to make people happy. I’m also excited to share and exchange my knowledge with chefs on the other side of the world.
What is the one dish you’ll be preparing that visitors to the festival shouldn’t miss?
It’s difficult to say… but I’d suggest the Milk-fed Veal with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Roast Jus. It’s a very traditional French dish, but I give it a certain contemporary twist.
Describe your cooking philosophy.
I like to say that “there is no good cuisine, only good products”. This goes back to my childhood when my father’s family favoured seasonal and local produce. For me, the challenge for a restaurant is the same whether it’s located in the business district in Gennevilliers, in the trendiest parts of Tokyo, or in Paris’s famous “golden triangle” – it’s to try and bring our guests the best products, and to make them want to share them. I like to keep telling my team that good products are usually the result of a beautiful love story between man and nature. As a result, a table in a restaurant must be a meeting place for all foods – those made with love and good products, and those that are the fruits of exchange and sharing.
What do you never travel without?
I never travel without my notebook so that I can note down everything that passes through my head. And I never travel without my iPad so that I can make sure I’m always in contact with my team.