What will cafés in France look like in the years to come? What about museums? Will normality be here to stay from the summer?
“Each and everyday, we strive for quality and modernity. Like perfumers, we create flavors.”
“Making sauce is an art,” explained Alex Gabriel, AKA French Guy Cooking, in a video last week announcing his new project: sauces.
Gabriel is known for his enthusiastic DIY approach to cooking, paired with instructional interviews with the best in the biz. In this new series on the 5 French Mother Sauces (béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato), Gabriel sets out to learn about the dynamic and delicious world of sauces. He visits Christian Le Squer, the Chef de Cuisine of the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, a 3-Michelin star restaurant, where Le Squer explains to Alex that cooks are sauciers, first.
Executive Chef, Romain Mauduit, introduces Gabriel to the importance of thickening sauces through reduction. “As volume decreases, concentration increases, so flavor intensifies.” The copper pots full of monstrous quantities of veal and chicken stock will make your mouth water.
“Each and everyday, we strive for quality and modernity. Like perfumers, we create flavors. From tradition to modernity.”
Paris (AFP) – At his cafe under the shadow of the Paris district of Montmartre, Guillaume Dubois shows off the brightly painted wooden pallets enclosing a quickly built patio that he says has transformed business in the summer of the coronavirus.
Following a loosening of regulations by city hall, customers at the Sunset cafe are now spread out on tables and chairs across three parallel parking spaces, in a scene repeated throughout Paris.
“It completely changes the face of Paris,” said Dubois, adding that it helped propel a surge in sales last month, when the city’s bar and restaurants were allowed to reopen after 92 days of COVID-19 lockdown.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo eased outdoor seating limits so owners could lure virus-wary clients, and commandeered hundreds of parking spots for additional seating.
Hammers soon rang across the city as plywood platforms were cobbled together over uneven roads, with delivery pallets serving as “walls” to offer a sense of security from drivers who are often just an arms’ length away.
“It’s a little ragtag, but it reminds me of the beach and paddle boats — you feel as if the entire city is on vacation,” said Roxane, 50, enjoying her coffee at the Sunset.
While some owners stick with the rough look of raw wood, many others have added splashes of colour and installed plants or small trees and other decorations.
As a result, pallets that usually languish behind stores or warehouses are being put to new use — some restaurants have even reported having their newly installed structures stolen.
“Everyone is scrambling to get hold of them,” said Momo, whose Taverne 28 is a few streets away from the Sunset in the 18th Arrondissement.
He said he enlisted a friend in the construction business to get the 10 pallets he covered the French national colours of red, white and blue. Continue reading “Makeshift patios take over Paris streets in virus summer”
France is not unique in seeing its service industry shut down in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But compared to other countries, France has a robust safety net of social security, unemployment, and healthcare. France has also implemented emergency measures that may prevent many of these businesses from going under.
As French restaurants begin to slowly reopen for outdoor service, the culinary landscape in France looks very different when compared to the United States.
Government Aid: Two Countries, Two Philosophies
In March, President Emmanuel Macron said he would do “whatever it takes” to ensure that no company, big or small, collapsed under the financial weight of the pandemic. He announced 300 billion euros in loan guarantees and tax exemptions. The government also played a role in negotiating rent forgiveness for restaurants.
Perhaps even more helpful, at least in the short-term, were easy-to-access “solidarity funds:” 1500 euros per month given tax-free to small businesses, compounded with an additional allowance of up to 2500 euros from URSSAF, a social security union for small businesses. On April 15, Gérald Darmainn, Minister of Public Action and Accounts, also announced that the restaurant industry’s taxes and social charges – about 750 million euros – would be forgiven instead of merely suspended for the duration of administrative closure.
In the U.S., by contrast, most small restaurants didn’t qualify for loans, while huge corporations like McDonald’s and Shake Shack did. According to the New York Times, big chains were able to access “tens of millions of dollars while many smaller restaurants walked away with nothing when the $349 billion fund was exhausted [April 16].” The Los Angeles Times reported that those small businesses that did qualify were reluctant to apply for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program because of the “strings” attached to loans.
Restaurant Workers Feed Us, But Can They Eat?
As far as restaurant employees are concerned, in France, most are secure within the net of the country’s robust social structure. When forced closures were announced mid-March, restaurant workers were encouraged to first use up their paid vacation (an average of about five weeks per year) before becoming eligible for partial unemployment (the equivalent of 84 percent of their salary.) Continue reading “Are French Restaurants More Likely than American to Survive the Lockdown?”
Restaurant and cafe owners in Paris cheered their chance to get back to business Monday after the government said they could once again open their dining rooms, three months after being shut to blunt the coronavirus outbreak.
The sooner-than-expected reopening for the Paris region was announced by President Emmanuel Macron late Sunday, shortly before officials reported just nine COVID-19 deaths in the previous 24 hours — the lowest figure since March.
“The bulk of the epidemic is behind us,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said Monday, though he cautioned that “this doesn’t mean we can stop fighting the virus.”
Until now, restaurants in and around the capital could only serve clients on outdoor terraces, even as eateries in the rest of the country opened fully earlier this month.
Read More at FRANCE24: End of Covid-19 lockdown serves up relief for Paris restaurants