The ephemeral ADMO restaurant came to life on 9 November at the top of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. At its head, a trio recently missed on the Parisian gastronomic scene: Alain Ducasse, Romain Meder and Jessica Préalpato. But that's not all - the menu of this restaurant, which is destined to exist for a hundred days only, is completed by the culinary magic of the famous Spanish chef Albert Adrià with input from Vincent Chaperon, cellar master of Dom Pérignon.
Fine Dining Lovers reveals all you need to know about ADMO, from the birth of this crazy project, to the alliance of these chefs, each with a very different outlook.
"Do you want to have fun?"
While this collaboration seemed sudden and unexpected to many, the idea had actually been running through Ducasse's mind for several years. “The chef came to my Tickets restaurant in Barcelona for dinner about two and a half years ago, before the start of the pandemic. Even at that time, Alain Ducasse was telling me that I should set up a project in Paris,” Adrià recalled. It was an idea that stayed front-of-mind for the most starred chef in the world, and it finally materialised in June 2021.
“At that time, I had just left the Plaza Athénée and Albert had to close his various Spanish restaurants because of the health crisis. I called him and I asked him, 'Do you want to have fun?' He didn't hesitate for a second," Ducasse told us.
Naturalness as a common thread
Very quickly, the idea of an ephemeral restaurant on the rooftop of the Musée du Quai Branly emerged, the teams met and a fusion was created between the cuisine of Albert Adrià and Romain Meder, former chef of the Plaza Athénée, with whom Ducasse first imagined his concept of 'naturalness'. This concept "remains the guideline of the ADMO card," said Meder. “I'm the guest chef, so it's up to me to adapt,” Adrià added.
While the beginnings of the collaboration were complicated, given that each other's cuisines are so different, the two worlds ended up meeting quite naturally. “In fact, we have two almost opposite approaches to creating a dish,” explained Meder. “For my part, I think about the product first and what I can do with it. For his part, Albert reflects on the customer experience. But in the end, our paths ended up crossing.”
It's an explanation that makes sense when it comes to tasting the duo's dishes, as it is so difficult to tell who did what. “That was the goal,” said Meder. “We didn't want one to create a dish and the other to create the next. Customers would have spent their time comparing things instead of enjoying the moment."
Mole and oyster sausage
The two ultra-creative chefs organised several sessions where each prepared a dish on their own before sharing it with the other to find ways to improve it. “The first course Albert presented to me was the mole (Mexican sauce with a very strong flavour) served on a sweet potato. I found the sauce amazing and suggested pairing it with cauliflower cooked like meat and monkfish liver instead. The click really happened at that time,” said Meder.
Then the other dishes were born, imbued with 'naturalness' and originality, such as the soft bread with oyster sausage and wakame, the cod skin worked like soba noodles in a mushroom and sea urchin broth, or vetch (a nitrogen-fixing legume and crop cover) served as a salad and emulsion with pickled shallot powder and shekwasha paste.
On the pastry side, Préalpato, voted best pastry chef in the world in 2019, has lost none of her excellence, with an explosion of flavours between tangerine, black sesame and olive oil, or more regressive creations like raw milk jam, quark, reduced milk ice cream, milk kefir and grated dried curd.
Obviously, the ADMO menu should evolve over the next hundred days under the creative impetus of the chefs. "We already have plenty of ideas," said Meder, all smiles, who as always has only one limit: that of seasonality.
Where? ADMO, Les Ombres au Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, 27 quai Branly, 75007 Paris.
Price: 380 € the menu, excluding drinks.
Photo credit: © PhilippeVauresSantamaria