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Connaught Hotel


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In the London paper today, the Connaught announce a female 2 star chef from paris, sorry home now and cannot remember her name, article was not to clear she use to be one of Ducassses right hand women, not sure if she is leaving Paris or doing both?

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Quite unusual to see a Parisian chef trying to co-CEO a kitchen in London (the McRobuchon and McDucasse franchises aside). Partly I think because for a Parisian star coming to London is a step down - cf why few English footballers play outside the Premiership.

Off the top of my head I can only think of Michel Rostang consulting on the second restaurant at the Meridian Picadilly, the Poucel's W'Sens thing in St James, Sketch and - way way before my time - Louis Outhier at Ninety Park Lane pre-Nico.

The constant thread is that none of these were a smashing success (I think 90 Park got * briefly but then lost it) - although I would say I think Sketch does well but remains critically underrated. Although maybe in this age of hyperglobalism (and the 2 Hr 15 Eurostar) she can finally pull it off.

J

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Helene Daroze.

Shes well regarded, the Irish food writer who is based in France, Trish Devine, rates her very highly and Trish is I suppose a kind of Nigella to the French middle class foodies. I've eaten Helene's food and it is good, she herself is rather feisty.

I would like to see more French food in London that is noisy and unpretentious, down with Ducasse I say, and she could be the sort of person to do it. Although I doubt if the Connaught's prices will be all that inclusive.

S

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I think Sketch does well but remains critically underrated.

Sketch is Overated,expensive,pretentious and not worth its accolade.I will never forget that meal.....it was horrible.And the image still sticks in my head of walking away from the table looking back and seeing the £1000+ in cash that we used to pay the bill :wacko: ,must dash feel sick ! :unsure:

Never trust a skinny Chef

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Helene Daroze.

Shes well regarded, the Irish food writer who is based in France, Trish Devine, rates her very highly and Trish is I suppose a kind of Nigella to the French middle class foodies. I've eaten Helene's food and it is good, she herself is rather feisty.

I would like to see more French food in London that is noisy and unpretentious, down with Ducasse I say, and she could be the sort of person to do it. Although I doubt if the Connaught's prices will be all that inclusive.

S

I ate at her 2 star in Paris about 18 months ago and it was dire - average food, poor service etc.

She is a favorite of the French press, partly I suspect, because she is a "women in a man's world" and as you say is feisty.

I also understand she has opened another restaurant in Paris (in addition to the tapas place under the 2 star) which I believe has had some good reviews.

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Helene Daroze.

Shes well regarded, the Irish food writer who is based in France, Trish Devine, rates her very highly and Trish is I suppose a kind of Nigella to the French middle class foodies. I've eaten Helene's food and it is good, she herself is rather feisty.

I would like to see more French food in London that is noisy and unpretentious, down with Ducasse I say, and she could be the sort of person to do it. Although I doubt if the Connaught's prices will be all that inclusive.

S

I ate at her 2 star in Paris about 18 months ago and it was dire - average food, poor service etc.

She is a favorite of the French press, partly I suspect, because she is a "women in a man's world" and as you say is feisty.

I also understand she has opened another restaurant in Paris (in addition to the tapas place under the 2 star) which I believe has had some good reviews.

I second that. I ate there in 2004 and it was dreadful. I fell for all the excitement that surrounded her and was really dissappointed, in particularly the poor use of what was some excellent ingredients. Her Ducasse pedigree is a bit of a ringer as I was told not long after that her duties were more admin. I hope this is just a story doing the rounds.

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Helene Daroze.

Shes well regarded, the Irish food writer who is based in France, Trish Devine, rates her very highly and Trish is I suppose a kind of Nigella to the French middle class foodies. I've eaten Helene's food and it is good, she herself is rather feisty.

I would like to see more French food in London that is noisy and unpretentious, down with Ducasse I say, and she could be the sort of person to do it. Although I doubt if the Connaught's prices will be all that inclusive.

S

I ate at her 2 star in Paris about 18 months ago and it was dire - average food, poor service etc.

She is a favorite of the French press, partly I suspect, because she is a "women in a man's world" and as you say is feisty.

I also understand she has opened another restaurant in Paris (in addition to the tapas place under the 2 star) which I believe has had some good reviews.

I second that. I ate there in 2004 and it was dreadful. I fell for all the excitement that surrounded her and was really dissappointed, in particularly the poor use of what was some excellent ingredients. Her Ducasse pedigree is a bit of a ringer as I was told not long after that her duties were more admin. I hope this is just a story doing the rounds.

2004 was a long time ago to be fair, even 18 months is a long time in this game. The Connaught isn't going to knowingly hire someone useless, surely?

S

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"2004 was a long time ago to be fair, even 18 months is a long time in this game. The Connaught isn't going to knowingly hire someone useless, surely?"

S

You're right. It was some time ago and the potential for the Connaught would be fantastic if the execution goes as planned but reviews and feedback from Darroze seem to be fairly divisive where Hartnett was so consistent. If it works then more for everyone.

A

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Quite unusual to see a Parisian chef trying to co-CEO a kitchen in London (the McRobuchon and McDucasse franchises aside). Partly I think because for a Parisian star coming to London is a step down - cf why few English footballers play outside the Premiership.

The reason few English footballers play outside the Premiership is because they can can earn mega-bucks here for being not very good...

:hmmm:

Edited by confiseur (log)
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Quite unusual to see a Parisian chef trying to co-CEO a kitchen in London (the McRobuchon and McDucasse franchises aside). Partly I think because for a Parisian star coming to London is a step down - cf why few English footballers play outside the Premiership.

The reason few English footballers play outside the Premiership is because they can can earn mega-bucks here for being not very good...

:hmmm:

Yes this must be the reason why there are so few Premiership teams left in the Champion's League ... :raz:

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Quite unusual to see a Parisian chef trying to co-CEO a kitchen in London (the McRobuchon and McDucasse franchises aside). Partly I think because for a Parisian star coming to London is a step down - cf why few English footballers play outside the Premiership.

The reason few English footballers play outside the Premiership is because they can can earn mega-bucks here for being not very good...

:hmmm:

Yes this must be the reason why there are so few Premiership teams left in the Champion's League ... :raz:

...Foreign owned, foreign managers and with mostly foreign players...Last night, Liverpool v Arsenal..2 English players on the pitch.

Premiership teams yes..'English'..no. :hmmm:

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  • 1 month later...

Here's more on the subject, an article from Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine:

"Darroze, who runs her eponymous restaurant Helene Darroze on the Left Bank in Paris, will launch her restaurant, Helene Darroze at the Connaught, in June once the redesign of the room has been completed by Paris-based designer India Mahdavi.

(...)

She will also be responsible for the revival of the Connaught Grill which will be returning in the autumn.

(...)

She will be bringing a team of staff from her Paris kitchen to lead a brigade of local chefs.

(...) A protégé of Alain Ducasse, she launched her own restaurant in Paris in 1999, won her her first Michelin star in 2001 and her second in 2003."

full story

Edited by AlexForbes (log)

Alexandra Forbes

Brazilian food and travel writer, @aleforbes on Twitter

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This is from a recent Guardian interview with Darroze:

"Her restaurant at the Connaught, like her Parisian venue, will have two separate menus - one for men with prices and one, for women, without. She shrugs her shoulders when I ask why. 'It's not an issue for me. Generally, the menu with the prices is given to the person who invites. It is not a question of man or woman."

This strikes me as staggering. Could someone with a bit more experience explain how this works? Presumably they either do give it to the man, or they ask "who's paying?", or make an ad hoc guess judging by who seems to be taking the lead or who made the booking.

I can just about see that a price-less menu might be requested by someone wanting to treat someone else and not have them constrained, but to hand them out on the basis of gender or a hunch seems ridiculous.

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This strikes me as staggering. Could someone with a bit more experience explain how this works? Presumably they either do give it to the man, or they ask "who's paying?", or make an ad hoc guess judging by who seems to be taking the lead or who made the booking.

I can just about see that a price-less menu might be requested by someone wanting to treat someone else and not have them constrained,  but to hand them out on the basis of gender or a hunch seems ridiculous.

I find the concept quite endearingly old-fashioned actually but I can well see how it could raise some people's hackles. I think it has to be done with a fine eye and a post-modern wink; if you're all po-faced and ham-fisted about it it could be horribly clunky.

Le Gavroche do it which my better half thought was fantastic - I think there it is almost default that the guy gets the menu with prices. Whether everyone responds so well even there I don't know, but their almost telepathic and balletic service lends itself to getting such judgement calls right.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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At RHR Jean Claude politely asks who is hosting the table but i think for slightly different reasons.

The whole system is ripe for cock ups and embarrassing moments, especially in this day and age.

a better system would be for the people for which it matters to request a no price menu on booking.

Matt Christmas.

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my prediction for the helene darroze opening is that we will be having similar discussions as took place with the ducasse opening. lots of expectation and hoo ha, lots of disappointment, lots of moaning and then it will all be forgotten and only be frequented by connaught guests of the eastern and american persuasion.

i myself have always quite fancied helen darroze, but only from the publicity shot with her floppy chef's hat on, (if you google further this shot presents quite a misleading picture!) if she comes out looking like that and gives me a kiss after my macarons, caneles and financiers, i will be happy! :wub:

Matt Christmas.

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my prediction for the helene darroze opening is that we will be having similar discussions as took place with the ducasse opening.  lots of expectation and hoo ha, lots of disappointment, lots of moaning and then it will all be forgotten and only be frequented by connaught guests of the eastern and american persuasion.

At least HD might actually be cooking at the restaurant on a regular basis unlike Ducasse!!

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my prediction for the helene darroze opening is that we will be having similar discussions as took place with the ducasse opening.  lots of expectation and hoo ha, lots of disappointment, lots of moaning and then it will all be forgotten and only be frequented by connaught guests of the eastern and american persuasion.

i absolutely agree, if i want fine dining in london i'd much rather give my money to claire and claude bosi rather than a part-timer no doubt on a cracking no-lose financial deal.

although as you say that floppy hat could change everything :laugh:

you don't win friends with salad

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At RHR Jean Claude politely asks who is hosting the table but i think for slightly different reasons. 

The whole system is ripe for cock ups and embarrassing moments, especially in this day and age.

a better system would be for the people for which it matters to request a no price menu on booking.

And I had such an embarrassing moment at RHR a couple of years ago. I booked a table for 4 - all lads. I arrived about ten minutes late for the table. The other three had already been given menus without prices, and I wasn't given one. Mine presumably would have included the prices. The whole table went for the tasting menu.

The tasting menu allowed a choice between a first dessert or cheese. Two of us went for the cheese, and we only realised there was a supplement on the cheese when the bill arrived.

After a little bit of a fight (I was rather rhetorically asked why I didn't also plead surprise or ignorance at the cost of the actual menu - £95) they reluctantly removed the supplements from the bill.

Ridiculous.

Edited by Andy Fenn (log)
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