French chef Frederic Anton, who owns the iconic Jules Verne restaurant high up the Eiffel Tower, is bullish about the return of fine dining, at least for those used to the high life.
The chef, who only recently acquired the lease for the Jules Verne restaurant from incumbent chef Alain Ducasse, thinks people will still want to dine at the French capital’s iconic location, and sees a return to glory for French gastronomy sooner rather than later.
“Nothing is going to change,” the three-Michelin-star chef told AFP. “The whole world loves to eat. The first day after the lockdown in Paris, restaurant terraces everywhere were full of people eating out. No one thought twice about it.”
The chef used the opportunity to reinvent the menu for his restaurant with dishes like courgette and almond tarts, artichoke poivrade, crab with caviar, and langoustine ravioli with smoked cream, and said he considers the period akin to a holiday. Indeed the chef used the time to catch up on all eight seasons of Game of Thrones.
“I am not going to question how a gastronomic restaurant works,” said Anton, adding that he didn't for a moment consider doing takeout food, which, given the restaurant’s location 125 metres above the city of Paris, is hardly a surprise.
“We thought about it for two minutes — it’s not necessary,” said the decorated chef, whose other Paris restaurant, the three-Michelin-star Le Pre Catelan, will not reopen until September.
The Jules Verne restaurant has one of the highest number of marriage proposals in the world. But while couples looking to mark a special occasion will not be forced to distance themselves from each other, Plexiglas barriers will separate them from other diners. They can even let their masks slip and steal a kiss, however all staff and waiters will be appropriately equipped with the necessary PPE to ensure maximum safety.
Meanwhile in Lyon, the country’s capital of gastronomy, the Cité Internationale de Gastronomie de Lyon, a massive food complex that opened its doors only nine months ago, has closed due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus.
"Faced with uncertainty for the economy and tourism, and despite our best efforts to save it, we have decided to not reopen the Cité," the directors of the complex said in a statement.
The closure does not come as a major surprise to locals, however, as the centre had been criticised as too expensive and lacking cultural content.