French Cuisine Gets A Little Less Haute

A lingering recession has top chefs heading down-market

Eric Frechon trained at one of the temples of Parisian haute cuisine, the glittering marble and mirrored Hotel Crillon on Place de la Concorde. But last year, when the talented, baby-faced, 33-year-old chef decided to strike out on his own, he went decidedly down-market, opening a simple restaurant with forgettable formica-topped tables in Buttes Chaumont, a working-class neighborhood of Paris. While his august haute cuisine alma mater remains half empty during most meals, his new Le Restaurant d'Eric Frechon requires reservations a week in advance. "Customers no longer want all that luxury," the chef says. "They prefer good food, an informal atmosphere, and reasonable prices." A sumptuous four-course meal including langoustine ravioli and fresh sea bass costs only $33.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.