The childhood of a chef: Amaury Bouhours, quiet strength

At the head of the Alain Ducasse restaurant in Le Meurice, Amaury Bouhours traces with us the tastes and recipes that influenced his childhood, shaped his palate and still influence him today.

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It’s almost eight years since Amaury Bouhours took up residence in the vast kitchens of the two-star restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse. The young chef has succeeded in renewing the Parisian palace’s offering by bringing a good dose of spice to the plate, without denying tradition. The smiling thirty-year-old is not a child of the inner circle. As a child, he used to accompany his father (who worked in IT) to the butcher and the market, and, alongside him, learned early on the importance of good products. At home, it’s his father who cooks. Amaury lost his mother very young, at the age of 6. It was at this same time that his family left the Parisian suburbs, where he was originally from, for Picardy, and settled in Compiègne. “Food at home was important. We entertained a lot on weekends, around traditional dishes: roast chicken, ham on the bone with Madeira sauce, leg of lamb, and even Caen-style tripe. » He grimaces, then smiles. “I didn’t escape fried frozen vegetables or boxed ravioli either, but it was really occasional. »

Organic express

  • 1988 Born in La Garenne-Colombes.
  • 2004 Joins the Soissons hotel high school.
  • 2009 End-of-studies internship at Louis XV, “a revelation”.
  • 2012 Amaury joined the Plaza Athénée, before joining the Meurice in 2016.

Taste memory

As a child, Amaury spent a lot of time with his paternal grandparents in Issy-les-Moulineaux. The smells that escape from the kitchen remain etched in his memory. “My grandmother was a bit old France.
She blessed the bread, and on Friday, Lord’s Day, she prepared a fish blanquette which she served with a mushroom Béchamel sauce and rice. I have a special, very comforting memory of it. On the table, there were also raw vegetables, pâté with pickles, and always a cheese platter. Its vermicelli broth, prepared with the remains of the chicken pot, also struck me. Without forgetting her apple tart, with egg cream, which I found magical, even if I’m not very much a dessert person. »

“Food at home was important. We entertained a lot on weekends, around traditional dishes. »

Chef recipes

It is therefore in homage to his grandmother that Amaury revisited the endive salad: “In my family, we prepared it with squares of Emmental, but since I added pear, I preferred to opt for blue cheese and, of course, a mustardy vinaigrette. » And if the rice at his father’s house was often overcooked, Amaury kept the habit of preparing it on weekends for his family, and especially for his son: “My father often made paellas, but when I tell my wife, who is Spanish, what he put in it, the chicken, the shrimp, the chorizo, the peas, the mussels, she doesn’t approve at all! » Last childhood memory, the burger: “It was really occasional, when we were going on vacation, and while getting gas we stopped at Quick. We had the right to eat with our fingers and drink Coke, two practices very far from our daily lives, almost transgressive. I wanted to make a plant-based version, I have a recent addiction to vegetables, which I previously perceived more as a supplement. Today, I think they have a central role to play. »

The hotel Meurice
228 rue de Rivoli
Paris 1st
(01 44 58 10 10).

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