Alain Passard is one of the most famous chefs in the world and he started his career already 1971 at the age of 14 and soon became a top rated chef. Alain Passard bought and took over L’Archestrate from his former mentor Alain Senderens in 1986 and renamed it Arpège.
Alain Passard became even more famous when he back in 2001 proclaimed that he would remove all red meat from his menu and only serve vegetables and herbs. The chef has never been an outspoken vegetarian or anything like that, but he has a very clear vision of his work and how it should be executed. You can easily have only vegetarian dishes at today’s Arpège, but game, fish and poultry are served at the restaurant even if the emphasis is on the vegetables.
Several times a day, to secure absolute freshness, ingredients, mainly vegetables, are delivered to Arpège from Alain Passard’s three kitchen gardens. They are located in different regions of France and the first one, in Sarthe, was established in 2002, the second in Eure started in 2005 and the third in 2008 in the Manche. The chef cares for his vegetables as winemakers care for their best grapes. The vegetables at Arpège are serious stuff, and delicious.
Arpège is one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, especially considered the fact that most you will eat are vegetables. A tasting menu without wine will easily set you back 320 Euros per person depending on season and what is included.
Over the years Alain Passard became famous for several signature dishes, but right now our favourites are the sea bass carpaccio with elderflower oil and the signature and trademarked apple tart made like a rose “bouquet de rose” with caramel sauce. There are many others, like the lamb with oyster and muscadet vinegar sauce and the grilled turbot with wine sauce and the dessert with strawberries with a spicy cinnamon and hibiscus juice that is served with a port from 1976.
The biodynamical demand at Arpège is very obvious. The eco awareness is close to total. The intellectual strive for getting the purest and most genuine tastes is fundamental and all vegetarian that is served easily becomes food religion. You have your turbot with green peas and the fish is cooked to absolute perfection, but it is the green peas that occupy your mind for a very long time after you have finished you meal at Arpège. Alain Passard and his team make the best vegetables in the world. There are many great chefs in the world who prepare excellent vegetables, but there is only one original.
Image of Chef Patron: Courtesy Arpège
Written by Andy