World's best chef, Guy Savoy, starts making takeaway soup amid the coronavirus pandemic - GulfToday

World's best chef, Guy Savoy, starts making takeaway soup amid the coronavirus pandemic


French chef Guy Savoy poses with a face mask in the empty kitchen of his Guy Savoy restaurant.

Two months ago Guy Savoy was at the very top of the gastronomic tree.

His Paris flagship restaurant had yet again been hailed as the best in the world by La Liste, with tables booked months in advance.

Then the coronavirus came, closing restaurants across the planet.

Now the three-star Michelin chef is making soup that you can heat up at home in your microwave.

Not any old soup, of course, but Savoy's legendary artichoke soup with truffles, which comes delivered with a brioche speckled with mushrooms and truffles to dip into it.

Its kitchens lie mostly empty, with their fridge doors open, with only the patisserie team hard at work preparing brioches and mousse au chocolat and rice pudding for takeaway.

soup2 French chef Guy Savoy poses with a face mask in the empty kitchen of his Guy Savoy restaurant.

 'We need comfort'

"These old-fashioned recipes bring us the comfort we need in these difficult times," Savoy said.

Like a host of top French chefs including his great friend and rival Alain Ducasse, Savoy has started doing home deliveries because his well-heeled clients can no longer come to him.

He has come up with a limited takeaway menu of dishes specifically chosen so their taste would not be too adversely affected when they are reheated at a low temperature, like sole or quail confit.

The famous artichoke soup comes in a glass jar to be gently reheated on a stove or at 600W in a microwave, with the truffle shavings wrapped separately to be added afterwards.

Every dish comes with a little card explaining how best to heat and serve it, said chef Gilles Chesneau, with most of the meals prepared at the one-star Le Chiberta restaurant near the Champs Elysees.

Not running a deli

"We also advise people to leave the starters and the desserts to sit out for five minutes, which will help to bring out the flavours," he added.

But this is not what Savoy's dreams are made of and he is chomping at the bit to get back.

"I am not a traiteur (someone who runs a deli)," sighed the great chef, but it was helping get some of his staff back to work.

Like many top chefs, the lockdown has been an emotional as well as financial hit for Savoy.

The brutal manner in which it was imposed on a Saturday night in mid-March made it even tougher for him.

'I was knocked out'

"I was knocked out. I have been working for 51 years and it is the first time I came up in front of an obstacle that I couldn't get over with work and energy. It's the feeling of being powerless," he said.

But on the bright side, Savoy said it wasn't like we have been through a war or an earthquake.

When that will be is another question, however.


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Many believe restaurants will not be able to open in France until at least July, and then with tight social distancing restrictions, which should be less of a problem for top end addresses like Savoy's.

Unlike some younger chefs, Savoy said he doesn't "believe in this talk of the world before and after (the coronavirus).

Which does not mean he is not worried about when and if foreign tourists will return to Paris, the world's most visited city.

They make up around 40 percent of his diners, most of them Americans and Koreans.


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