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A chef dreams of stuffed pig’s bladder

Yannick Alléno

The only chef to run two three-star Michelin restaurants in France moonlights as the publisher of an influential food magazine, YAM. Here, he shoots around the world to revisit his favourite haunts

The only chef to run two three-star Michelin restaurants in France moonlights as the publisher of an influential food magazine, YAM. Here, he shoots around the world to revisit his favourite haunts

June/July 2017

Breakfast In Paris this is normally just a croissant and coffee, but for a truly memorable breakfast, I would go to Hotel Fasano, which is right on the beach in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. Designed by Philippe Starck, this is probably the sexiest hotel in Brazil, with the sort of unobtrusive service you get when the proprietors have been in the business for more than a century. The breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant from 6.30 in the morning, but I prefer to head straight for the heated infinity pool on the roof and have my croissant with freshly squeezed fig or ginger-infused watermelon juice. 

Lunch I do most of my exploration for new dishes and techniques abroad. In Paris, I prefer to eat for pleasure and, whenever possible, with my wife and friends. Tomy Gousset only opened Tomy & Co last autumn, but it is already making waves with its bistro-style cuisine at reasonable prices – a set lunch for €25. These days when young chefs get fame, it can go to their heads and ruin them, but not in Tomy’s case. He has remained humble, which is a rare thing; he is very much the modern tattooed chef who works hard and is always in the kitchen. He cooks with Parisian products as much as possible, not just because they are local but because there are an amazing number of quality producers surrounding the capital. Last time we went, I had gnocchi and truffles and then wonderful roast pork, which came from the Île-de-France. Equally important, Tomy has a great wine list, so we were able to enjoy one of my favourite Volnays from the Marquis d’Angerville. 

Dinner I love the energy of New York, the street food and mixture of European influences and defined American taste. Besides, I never forget that there are 9m people here in search of a restaurant all day long. Chefs are very competitive, so we are always looking at what our colleagues are doing and comparing it to what we do ourselves. The last time I had dinner at Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park, I ate truffled celery root cooked inside a pig’s bladder. It was not the most visually exciting plate of food, but the taste was incredible. I recall thinking, “Wow, that is the kind of dish I would have liked to create myself.” Besides the serious cuisine, I also like the amusing touches, such as the ice-cream machine in the kitchen or the red-hot tongs that are used to snip off the stems of wine bottles.

After-dinner drinks My ideal place to wind up after dinner is the bar at the Park Hyatt in Shanghai. The hotel occupies the top 15 floors of the Shanghai World Financial Centre and the bar, touted as the highest on the planet, has amazing views of the city lights. There is even a collection of antique telescopes to help you focus in on the skyline. The cocktails are great, but I prefer to search for an interesting Grand Cru Burgundy, say an Échezeaux 2007 from Méo-Camuzet, relax and soak up the atmosphere.

Yannick Alléno was talking to Bruce Palling

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