A French chef Spots trends on both sides of the pond.
By Christine Stoddard
Chef and food ambassador Edgar Vaudeville’s binational experience in New York and France has groomed him for a career in spotting trends on both sides of the pond. When I asked him what he sees trending in big apple restaurants these days, he had an immediate answer.
“I believe that people are looking for something much simpler in terms of the right quality from the right farmer or the right producer,” he says. “They just want to have it twisted from a different angle according to a particular culinary flair.” So it’s not that Thai food is in or Indian food is in per se; rather, quality Thai food and quality Indian food are in.
“People want the producer to be super and they want to know everything about the product and everything about the producer,” says Vaudeville. “So if they order vegetables, they want to know if they’re [organic] and where they’re being grown.”
In many cases, Vaudeville warns against foods that too elaborate in seasoning. “Normally, you should get worried when you see a dish with all sorts of sauces and flavors,” he says. “It usually means they are trying to cover [the meat], and that there is something fake.” Ideally, simple is better. “Get the best ingredients and cook it the right way with minimum seasoning.”
Romanée Conti, the most well known and expensive vineyard in the region.
So where can you get the freshest and most innovative meals now? Foodies take note: You might have to board a plane to a new town in order to enjoy the latest and greatest culinary sensations. Vaudeville believes that New York City’s high rent is pushing many independently owned restaurants out of the big apple. In some cases, they are not able to open in Manhattan or even Brooklyn or trendier neighborhoods in Queens at all. Because of this, Vaudeville is noticing an uptick in high-end, farm-to-table restaurants in smaller cities, such as Los Angeles and Miami. Lower rent gives chefs more freedom to play and maybe even more attention than they would receive in Manhattan’s supersaturated market.
“Big restaurants that are focusing on cutting costs and increasing revenue [rather than food quality] are killing New York’s market,” says Vaudeville. Of course, not all is lost. He still thinks New York can be a place for quality and creativity in food, as long as there are discerning restaurant-goers to support their favorite establishments.
The town of Beaune, France is surrounded by world renowned vineyards. It is a place which only locals know of to take beautiful walks or jogs in the morning.
Despite the American trend toward healthy food, Vaudeville has noticed the rise of the hamburger in France. “The burger is coming very strong, not in Paris but in other major cities like Lyon and Dijon,” he says. “They are putting a twist on it by putting the cheese and meat of the region. I’ve been very surprised by the quality. They’re really good, quality burgers.”
That is not to say that the farm-to-table trend has hit France. Vaudeville cites one Italian-style restaurant called Big Mamma as an example of an establishment taking the farm-to-table trend to the extreme. “They take their own truck and pick up products from Italy and dispatch them to their locations in Paris,” he says, adding that the locally owned chain is très popular. “And there’s a line outside with no reservations.”
Edgar’s new hotel and restaurant in Beaune, France.
Vaudeville is hoping for similar success at his new restaurant in Beaune, France, at the heart of the country’s Burgundy region. With 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry and achievements such reopening the bar at Hôtel Le Bristol in Paris, it’s likely his dream will come true.