Alain Passard, born in 1956, is a French chef and owner of the three-star restaurant L’Arpège in Paris. He started his career in 1986 at the « Duc d’Enghien » at the Casino of Enghien. He obtained one Michelin star, the most prestigious award for French cuisine and then a second. It was at this address that he perfected his carpaccio of langoustines with caviar. He then received two stars at the Carlton in Brussels, Belgium.
In 1986, he opened the Arpège restaurant in Paris and obtained three Michelin stars.
Vegetables have been the centrepieces at the Arpège since 2001. Passard plans his menu based on the seasons, sourcing natural and organically-grown products from artisans and farmers. Passard’s desire to work with quality products led to the creation of three kitchen gardens. Three gardens in three different regions giving the respective vegetables a soil-suffused signature: sand in the Sarthe for carrots, asparagus and leeks; clay in the Eure for celeriac and cabbage, and lastly, alluvia in the Manche for aromatic herbs. An example of this philosophy is reflected on his creation the “Bouquet de roses” apple tart, a tart that honours both the flower and the fruit.
The dishes that Alain Passard creates have a certain poetic mystery and an obvious enigma; they are always set to music, fugues, arias, sonatas, concertos, oratorios – They are symphonies around the products.
Alain Passard describes himself as « a sculptor of the flame »; He says he knows how to combine each product with the right flame: One that strokes, one that seizes…
The Chef says the first step with vegetables starts by looking at their colour. “A mauve, a yellow, a marbly white, a celadon green, a pearly orange, these are colours that inspire me. I proceed by touches. The technical aspect comes after this.”
Alain Passard creates much like a fashion designer, only serving his guests with produce from his gardens. He exposes himself to the hazards of nature, and insists on serving only natural, strong and pure products.
Each day, on each delivery, the gardens offer an array of originality, creations and variations. Assisted by craftsmen, farmers, fishermen that are carefully selected, Alain Passard never ceases to amaze us, often by disregarding the boundaries of a menu, he improvises…and catches you by surprise.