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In conversation with AKRAME BENALLAL

of

Akrame Benallal

In the heart of Paris we met the award-winning chef Akrame who, at the inauguration of the new Marcolin showroom, successfully proposed an exciting journey into taste full of surprises

di Newsroom

One of the most popular Parisian restaurants of the last year is yours, two Michelin star establishment between the Arc de Triomphe and Trocadero, where you can taste dishes with Berber, Moorish, Mediterranean and Arabic influences. And not only that, given your numerous experiences: how has your idea of cooking transformed today?

So, my cooking really hasn’t changed, but it has evolved. Using less sugar, less salt, and less fat means it is much lighter. But that doesn’t mean it’s tasteless. I believe in bold blends of flavors.In other words, when I cook, I like to find combinations of flavours that work well together. For example, right now we are preparing celeriac with coconut. I never would have guessed that coconut could pair well with celeriac. But these two worlds really come together if we try. Let’s say if we focus on depth of flavor, which is to say, trying to find the perfect balance and the perfect equation between celery and coconut.

 

The choice of a place with very sober furnishings and dominated by a non-colour like black is intriguing. Where does this choice come from?

The colour black came into my life thanks to an artist I really admire named Pierre Soulages. It’s now been nine years that we’ve been working with black, and for me, black is a colour that has never been as central in my cooking as it is now. That’s what I’ve been trying to do: emphasizing this colour as well my own black and white style.

You put your signature on Marcolin’s menu for the inauguration of the new showroom in Paris: can you tell us the inspiration behind the dishes prepared for this special occasion? What does inspire you about the Marcolin world?

For the opening of the new showroom in Paris, I created the dishes that reflect my interpretation of black and white and of Marcolin’s sublime craftsmanship linked to innovation. It was very interesting to create these combinations for such an important event.

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