A family-run canteen
With two locations in the 18th arrondissement, this mother-daughter team serves daily specials using seasonable, sustainably sourced ingredients.
“We decided to include a vegetarian option on the daily menu, and it seems to be working! We are getting our customers accustomed to eating vegetables that they may be less familiar with, like fennel or parsnips.”
With rapid-fire diction and unflinching candor, Célestine can go on forever about how she and her mother, Marie-Aymée, opened this family canteen three years ago. Formerly in the non-profit sector, Célestine had long aspired to open a restaurant, but it was the abrupt death of her father that prompted her, at the age of thirty, to see the project to fruition. “We created a means to cope, both psychologically and financially,” she says.
It wasn’t until work had already begun on the first location that Célestine found the time to refine her vision for the restaurant—a canteen open to the public at midday—and started looking for suppliers: meat from an attentive, eco-conscious producer in the Picardie region, prime “red label” poultry from the small Normandy town of Licques, and cheese from the Laiterie de Paris. Priced on average at 10€, the daily specials change with the season and include as many local, organic ingredients as are available. “We want to make it possible for people to come every day,” says Célestine, “and eat here as they would in their granny’s kitchen!”
What’s cooking? The classics— bœuf bourguignon (a Burgundy-style beef stew braised in red wine) and blanquette (a white meat ragout stewed in white sauce)—as well as a daily veggie option. “We are getting our customers accustomed to eating vegetarian,” Célestine says, “even though some of them still ask us what ‘oyster mushrooms’ are,” she adds with a smile. Catering to a lunch crowd in a hurry, the canteen also keeps a glass cooler stocked with quick options for takeaway.
The first Foucher location was so successful that a second, 100-square-meter space opened in July. Claudia, the head chef, has more room for creativity at the canteen’s second location, whereas Marie-Aymée and Célestine’s half sister stick for the most part to award-worth sandwiches and brownies at the first. Operating under the admiring watch of Hula Hoop and Patapouffe, the canteen’s two canine mascots, it is a family affair that works altogether well.
- The first location of Chez Foucher Mère & Fille: 13 Rue Madeleine Rebérioux, 75018 Paris*
- Author: Zazie Tavitian / Jeanne Bourdier
- Photos: Rodney Paul
“We have an incredibly high rate of regulars, with almost half of our customers coming to the canteen every day. We know what our regulars will order, and they love that about us.”
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