1:00 p.m., September 23, 2021
Passionate entrepreneurs like Florent Ciccoli, Julien Fouin, Florent Piard or Stéphane Manigold have succeeded in building small catering groups on a human scale.
Florent Ciccoli: Friends first
“I was mostly a young student who liked to drink shots with his friends!” With his group of carefree friends, the Lyonnais Florent Ciccoli quickly wanted to “set up bars the way you like them: where everyone is welcome, where you can drink and snack on a small budget.” In 2006, he was 25 years old and they opened Les Caves Populaires (Paris 17th). Then came, in eastern Paris, Les Pères Populaires (2007), L’International (2008), then their first restaurant, La Bouche, before Au Passage in 2010, Bones (renamed Jones) in 2013, Cheval d’Or, etc. At the same time, they help the chefs to set up their own business: “We liked to support the projects of cooks with great personalities. We were business angels without money! Business schools …”
The only course of action: quality at an affordable price. At the Café du Coin, where Ciccoli himself has been behind the stove, he offers popular cuisine at lunch and a pizza bar in the evening. “Doing the best, as cheaply as possible, is doable: you need the right suppliers and not look for a margin at all costs. It is a choice of life: our objective has never been to ride on the . ” This philosophy is reflected in its openings, bistros in a Paris more popular than that of upscale spots.
With the attacks, strikes and the Covid, Florent Ciccoli’s morale has sometimes faltered: “Those who can still invest are concept establishments and large groups. I am afraid that the banks will no longer finance small initiatives. individual like ours… But if it’s still possible, I’ll always want restaurants and friends! “
Julien Fouin: Pioneer of sustainable bistros
In the Marais, Glou at 12 years old; Jaja, 10. They have lots of little Parisian brothers as well as a cousin in Lyon (Cocotte). Julien Fouin and his sidekick Ludovic Dardenay have created a group on a human scale made up of bistros where it is good to eat and which called on responsible producers. No wonder, from this former journalist passionate about ecology before the hour, who directed the magazine Régal from 2004 to 2008 before inventing the first “wine cellar”, Glou, with this maxim: “Cuisine and wines sympathetic “.
It must be said that Julien Fouin has been interested in nature bowling since 1990. “I wanted to regroup my passions: to feed the stomachs and the brains well in a good atmosphere, he explains. The most important in this profession, this is not the location or the decor, but the teams. People come to us for an atmosphere, a cuisine and a personality. ” Hyperactive, committed but eternally dissatisfied, he also created Dupain, a sourced and organic bakery, including Service, which supports catering projects and finally a wine company.
He is the father of eight restaurants: Grandcœur, whose menu is signed by Mauro Colagreco and his vegetable-inspired cuisine; Goguette, the bistro with good wines, with chef Gianmarco Gorni; Glou, Jaja and Bonvivant, piloted by chef Eduardo González. Not to mention Bonvivant Pizza. “With us, no ready-to-eat big chains where we feed people for a low ticket. Me, I’m from the school of good bistros, that of Yves Camdeborde, Rodolphe Paquin or Flora Mikula. “Lately, the Covid crisis and the scarcity of staff, competition and social networks have heckled his vocation: should we return to writing? Develop wine or rather bakery? There is finally a restorer standing and motivated: “I have lots of ideas, I’m not going to stop there!”
Florent Piard: Resistance to the stoves
As a child, he made a success of his holidays in the Normandy fields. “All my friends worked with cows and chickens!” When, as an adult, he donned the comfortable suit of an investment banker in London, he suddenly missed the atmosphere of the farm … The family social fiber also resurfaced – his father worked at Restos du cœur, his mother in the medico-social. Florent chooses, him, the restoration engaged, to support the “true resistance”:
A solution ? Bypass intermediaries to work directly with them and pay them as fair as possible. “We always talk about product quality,” he says, “but we ignore the social dimension of the cook: part of the community never meets the producers and allows itself to be approached by the agri-food industry. As an investor, we can do the choice of lower profitability and more social responsibility. “
Florent gives up his comfortable profession and, for more than a year, sets out to meet the farmers. He opened Les Résistants in 2017 then l’Avant-Poste in 2019. When it opened, the two addresses in the 10th arrondissement in Paris were always full. More than 100 producers and as many winegrowers now live with him and his associates, Yannick Laurent and Clément Desbans. A neighborhood grocery store next to the Resistants will open in November. “We are always in full swing,” he assures us, “we want to continue making projects, if the banks are still projects like ours.”
Stéphane Manigold: The appetite of the outsider
“I hate sleeping and being bored.” During the closure of restaurants in 2020, Stéphane Manigold therefore spent his time “scrutinizing the insurance law” to defend the rights of restaurateurs. “My emotion, when I won against Axa, was real: I knew how many restaurateurs were behind me,” he says.
The general public then discovers on television a forty-year-old passed from the automobile to the restoration. Before, he got out of a difficult childhood, far from the seraglio: in the sensitive districts of Mulhouse, with a sweeper father and a cleaning mother mother who abandons her family. He is 7 years old, discovers homes, and from 11 years old works by cleaning the windshields at red lights, to “leave this environment at all costs”.
A “hard worker”, Stéphane Manigold rose through the ranks at Audi where he was head of key accounts sales for seventeen years, “with a company car and a good salary”. But two films decide this “passionate about Italian food” to take the leap of entrepreneurship: The founder (2016), by John Lee Hancock, on the rise of the McDonald brothers, and The quest by Alain Ducasse (2017), a documentary by Gilles de Maistre: “As an entrepreneur, Ducasse advised to always be on the move. Since then, when I create a restaurant, my deep conviction is to have a place , a chef, a story. “
Its group, Éclore, already has six restaurants (Substance, Contraste, Maison Rostang, Bistrot Flaubert, Liquide in Paris and Braise in Strasbourg), will soon be added to the capital, Granite and Braise. Lover of champagne and good wines, he declines the adage “beautiful cellar and bistronomy” and puts his chefs in the spotlight. “I am looking above all for a personality,” he says. “You can decorate the prettiest place in the world, it is men who find it alive.” Liquide, his second opus with Matthias Marc (semi-finalist of the last Top Chef), has been sold out since July. Granite, with Tom Meyer, the ex-chef of Anne-Sophie Pic, is expected at the end of September. Stéphane Manigold’s social elevator never stops going up.