Summer food: Adrien Cachot’s aperitif

He remembers it like it was yesterday. The sun of the Costa Brava, his grandmother’s apartment in Vilanova, a small seaside resort south of Barcelona. Return from the beach at 6 p.m., and finally, aperitif time. The salt of the pipas which blends with that of the sea, the grilled corn which leaves fat on the fingers, the octopus in ink and the cockles in salt still in their can, the olives with chilli, a glass of Coke. “These are my first memories, because it was a moment that we shared with adults,” says Adrien Cachot. It was a little too salty, a little too fatty, a little forbidden, completely addictive. For me it was extraordinary. » If summer aperitifs remain such a vibrant evocation in the memory of the young chef, who is among the most promising talents in gastronomy, it is because their characteristics are those that he still seeks, today, behind its stoves: simplicity and addiction. It was in “Top Chef”, in 2020, that the French were able to discover the recipes of Adrien Cachot, a thousand miles from the palace snobbery which then punctuated each episode. She exuded a love of popular cuisine and a taste for unloved products, offal, kebabs, merguez sandwiches from football stadiums, which he ennobled in plates of rare intelligence, nourished by cutting-edge influences from the of the world. Week after week, three million viewers watched him defy all odds and astound more than one three-star chef with his proposals that were both sophisticated and regressive. In the final, his defeat caused a tidal wave of protest that social networks still remember.

©Bastien Lattanzio

All last winter, he gave free rein to his playful spirit during a gastronomic residency at Perchoir Ménilmontant, in Paris. No menu to announce the brain cromesquis with ultra-spicy mapo tofu, the horseradish-peanut butter tartlet, the concrete gray anchovy meringue, the duck tongues wrapped in a nasturtium leaf or the mont-d’or served in dessert with Granny Smith apple sorbet… In all, thirteen delicious bites whose origins had to be guessed, which amazed the culinary critics and baffled some gourmets who were annoyed at not detecting the flavors exploding on their palates. The restaurant was sold out every evening that the residency lasted, to the great dismay of many fans frustrated at having missed the opportunity to taste the chef’s cuisine. Good news: from the fall, Adrien Cachot will take the reins of a tapas bar in the Food Society, a 3,500 m2 space bringing together, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, around fifteen restaurants, cocktail bars and grocery stores ultra-sharp. He will serve the great classics from Iberian counters, Padrón peppers, razor clams a la plancha… as obvious for anyone whose first memories of aperitifs are in Catalonia. “All our lives, we seek to recreate sensations, tastes, moments that we loved. The aperitif is always in the back of my mind because it sums up in itself the whole challenge of our profession: to move, to hit the palate with a single bite, and to make you want to return. » It is this challenge that, in our pages, the chef proposes to take up, by offering four recipes for simple, quick and micro-budget aperitif bites, imbued with nostalgia for the France of paid leave, and which he gives his advice.

Read also >>Adrien Cachot: “Cooking takes up 98% of my day, even when I’m not working”

His recipes


For 4 people

A box of small blinis

200 g of fresh beans

Semi-salted or Fleur de sel flavored butter.

Preparation: Shell the beans then blanch them for a few seconds in very salty water. Cool them in a salad bowl filled with ice cubes then remove the skin around each bean. Reserve in the fridge. Heat the blinis, add a thin slice of semi-salted butter and arrange the beans like scales before adding a touch of fleur de sel. I like them plain, but you can dress them with olive oil, vinaigrette, sriracha sauce or whatever seasoning you like!


©Bastien Lattanzio


For 4 people

60 cl of water

5 cl of nuoc-mâm

5 cl of orgeat syrup

10 cl of Pontarlier or Ricard anise

100 g of sugar

Preparation: Bring the water to a boil, mix all the ingredients for five minutes. Put the mixture in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, scrape off the ice thus formed to create crystals. Arrange the granita in a bowl and add a few salted peanuts as decoration.


For 4 people

200 g of gray shrimp

2 tbsp. tbsp sriracha sauce

2 large cloves of garlic

Preparation: Peel the garlic cloves, slice them finely and lightly brown them in a non-stick pan. When they have browned, throw the shrimp into the pan and sauté them over high heat for a minute before deglazing with the Sriracha sauce. Serve them hot, as is: the head and shell can be eaten. Plan a spare portion, this aperitif is highly addictive!


©Bastien Lattanzio


For 4 people

20 vegetarian West Indian peppers

1 can of salted Spanish anchovies

260 g quality pitted black olives

1 tbsp. capers

50 ml olive oil

1 tbsp. tablespoon of red vinegar

Preparation: To make the tapenade, mix the olives, capers, olive oil and vinegar until you obtain a pleasant consistency in the mouth. You can add fresh garlic, thyme, and other aromatic elements as you wish. I use it to stuff peppers but it’s a classic that can be eaten in its simplest form! Scald or torch the vegetarian peppers to remove their skins. Once they are peeled, cut them on one side with a small knife to stuff them with the tapenade. Polish the peppers with olive oil and add a piece of salted anchovy before serving.


©Bastien Lattanzio


For 4 people

A beautiful yellow melon

About twenty basil leaves

About twenty coriander leaves

A dozen bird peppers

A jar of XO sauce

Preparation: Peel then core the melon. Slice thin strips with a knife like a ham and cut them into squares. Reserve in the fridge. Slice the bird peppers. Arrange a slice of melon, then a basil leaf, a coriander leaf and a bird’s eye pepper, then repeat the operation, as if making a millefeuille. Before serving, add a teaspoon of XO sauce to each mound: this Hong Kong sauce, composed of dried fish, shrimp, chili and garlic, brings the saltiness of the ham usually associated with melon in family aperitifs.


THINKING PRACTICAL “Fruit, vegetables or seafood, I always choose products that are almost ready, to which I add a touch of pep. When we’re at home and it’s summer, we don’t want to spend our time cleaning our kitchen: so we prefer products that are quicker and easier to work with! »

FOCUS ON FRESHNESS “We favor fruits and vegetables full of water, watermelon, cucumber, melon… I don’t like leaving them at temperature: to work with them better, we always keep them cool. »

THINKING GLOBALLY “Out of five aperitif bites, we allow ourselves one a little cooked, and the other four mixed together. What matters is the whole: it must be simple, readable, and full of comforting flavors. »

FOLLOW A SIMPLE EQUATION “We want something lively. To achieve this, we systematically think about combining three elements in a bite: freshness, acidity and salt. »

REHABILITATING CANNED CANNING “You have to know how to make life easier and not be elitist: there are some very good canneries that offer quality products. Octopus in ink, mussels in vinegar, these are my best childhood memories in Catalonia. Today, I can use cockles or mussels in vinegar to replace salt in a preparation, it’s very interesting. In the same way as ham, in a plate of melon-ham, serves to bring salinity to the fruit. »

THE GOLDEN RULE “When you have tasted one bite, you want to eat ten.” That’s the sign of a successful aperitif. »

IN YOUR CUPBOARDS “Always have the right condiments that spice up anything. I always have: soy sauce, sriracha sauce, mustard, wasabi, XO sauce. »

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