Food Trends And French Fodder With Frenchie’s Gregory Marchand

Food Trends And French Fodder With Frenchie’s Gregory Marchand

Chef Gregory Marchand, fondly known as “Frenchie”, shares his guide to the best bistros in Paris and defines French cooking with a modern tongue.

Oliver bestowed chef Gregory Marchand with the slightly
obvious nickname of “Frenchie” when the pair worked together at
Fifteen in London.
Today, Marchand’s fleet of eponymously named fine-dining and casual
restaurants highlight the moniker’s stickability.

Flitting between Paris and London, the Nantes native grew up on
a medley of boire blanc and veal escalope (as well as some
over-seasoned French toast courtesy of his grandmother’s
heavy-handedness). Nowadays, the dishes he presents across his
various postings are just as hearty – though at the
Michelin-starred Frenchie Rue du Nil, they come
plated in a more discerningly sophisticated manner.

Where are you from and how has that shaped or inspired

I am from Nantes, Loire Valley. Every region in France has
regional food culture and you are raised in that food culture. From
my side, that explains a lot.

What are your childhood food memories?

I grew up on boire blanc (the acidic butter sauce traditionally
served with pike perch) and frog legs in parsley butter. We at a
lot of escalope of veal “à la Normande”, with creamy mushroom
sauce. My grandmother’s French toast – made with leftover baguette
and way too much cinnamon – is a potent food memory for me.

How do you define French cooking?

It’s very regional and focuses on the most incredible produce.
There is a real sense of simplicity, with each ingredient
expressing itself to the fullest. Some might say it’s rich; I
prefer to say it’s delicious.

Best bistros in Paris…

Le Comptoir from chef Yves Camdeborde, Bistrot Paul Bert from my
friend Bertrand Auboyneau, Le Baratin by chef Raquel Carena and
Franck Baranger’s Le Pantruche.

Tell us about “Frenchie”; how did it come about and where did
the name come from?

My nickname was given to me by Jamie Oliver, who I worked under
at Fifteen years ago. Since then, it’s just stuck.

What inspired you to start Frenchie?

Frenchie started as a place I would like to go and most
importantly come back to. It is a mix of my experiences travelling
around the world and the different cultures I encountered. It’s
authentic, genuine and delicious.

Why was London your choice location when expanding the Frenchie
brand overseas?

Spending most of my twenties in London had a huge impact on who
I am today. After almost 10 years living in London, I left the city
and inevitably started to miss it.

Where are your favourite places to eat in London?

Core by Clare Smyth and HIDE as
well as Club Gascon, Sabor, The Barbary, Kiln
and Hoppers.

Tell us some of your most loved and loathed food trends right

I feel fermentation has been taken a little too far; you see it
on so many menus now. I do love seeing more vegetable-focused meals
without being typified as vegetarian.

What’s been your career highlight so far?

It’s a tie. On 1st April 2019 Frenchie celebrated our 10-year
anniversary in Paris and earlier this year, in January, Frenchie
Rue du Nil received its first Michelin star.

What would be your last meal?

Frenchie’s bacon scone with clotted cream.

Food cities worth visiting…

A food tour around Paris or London, New
Hong Kong
is always a good idea. Marseille is an up-and-coming
food city worth noting; book a table at Harry Cummins’ Paris Pop-up
and Alexandre Mazzia’s AM par Alexandre Mazzia.

Favourite restaurant abroad?

Gramercy Tavern in New York.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Baltimore Boys by Joël Dicker.

Where’s your next adventure?

Enjoying life because it’s not about the destination, it’s about
the journey.

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