THE YEAR 2015 SIGNIFIES A BEAUTIFUL CULINARY EVENT : THE 10 YEARS OF CITRUS ETOILE.
Just next to “the place de l’etoile”, this restaurant, where the TV show “chef” aired on France 2 celebrated its 10 th anniversary last thursday, august 25th. We had an opportunity to meet chef Gilles Epie, the owner of this institution.
Traveler, cook with his tattooed and muscular arms … Gilles Epié is more than a CHEF, he is an adventurer.
From the beginning, he realized that life is a fight, a challenge.
“it’s all about moving forward and winning.”
His first victory? His Michelin star – in 1989 – just at the age of 22 years. Youngest stared chef in France, the adventure begins. Next challenge?
In 1995, he flew to the United States. He conquered the City of Angels at the French restaurant l’ Orangerie. His cuisine dominates and surprises, American critics selected him as the Best Chef that year. The restaurant went from three to five stars. Ten years later, a new challenge comes.
2005 – ten years later – he returned to Paris. With his wife, Elizabeth Epié, they opened their business. More than a challenge, having his own restaurant in Paris has always been a dream for him.
A dream he needed to realize, to make it truly exist and become a reality, not just a dream.
On 25 August 2005 the Citrus Etoile was born.
Ten years later, Gilles Epié is more motivated than ever.
“We have given a lot to this restaurant, and it’s given us a lot in return.”
CITRUS ETOILE: CREATION OF A NEW LIFE
The years in the United States opened Gilles eyes. But he knew he would return to France and take all he learned to create something new.
He brings all of himself to his cuisine, his way of seeing and the way he invents.
For the restaurant, it was not only a strategic location, but magical: the Golden Triangle. In the 8th district near the Champs Elysees, the chef found the perfect location. After the place, came the name…
– Citrus Étoile – has many meanings. Citrus, alludes to two things;
First is the English translation of citrus – all the citrus – that symbolizes freshness and vitality . The vitality of life, Gilles’ life.
Citrus is also the name of a street in the United States; one where his friend’s restaurant was. As for Etoile “ star”, it refers to the location so dear to the chef. Ten years ago, the Citrus Etoile name came to him, it represented so many different things.
CITRUS ETOILE: EVOLUTION OF PHILOSOPHY
It is by starting from nothing and climbing the ladder that the summit is reached. Although the chef already had a name, his name; Citrus Etoile had to build its own reputation.
The districts in Paris, all have their own class, their own lifestyle, different people, and it is essential if you are to succeed to know your demographic.
Situated in this part of the 8th, Gilles caters to a certain type of customer: foreign customers and business clients. Also, the customer who is looking to eat light and simple but still delicious, but demands a quality products and a high level of service. It is with great lucidity that Gilles sees his restaurant and cuisine evolve; and he sees himself evolving at the same time.
“Life is a continuous fight.”
Bravery and fighting spirit animate this chef. Critics do not affect him, on the contrary.
“Whatever does not kill us makes us stronger.”
Gilles uses the past to grow and the country’s economic development to proceed.
His vision is in his nature – as said above – he was to be a pioneer in many areas. Indeed, he was the first Chef to have truly utilize used social media to communicate. Citrus was the first restruant to book so many reseravations online. He wants to reach people all over the globe and that is social media at its best.
In the US, such tools were already in vogue, but not yet in France. Today, everyone has a presence on the web.
Very simply, Gilles creates his recipes with only three elements:
“The main product, the vegetable, and the juice. Nothing else.”
The changing seasons and decide what he uses on his menu.
“I will never repeat the same recipe. However, It an old one can inspire me to create a new one.”
“The availability of foreign products is a real luxury today. Yuzu, combawa … these products that we are just beginning to use, were not easy to get a few years ago.”
The cuisine is constantly evolving, it adapts to trends, to taste, to time. A chef must be able to adapt himself and its cuisine to satisfy its customers. Customer Gilles cuisine is light, but comforting. No need to fuss, “the product is sufficient in itself,” he exclaims. The cook is not a magician, he uses his intuition to make a product great, nature has done the hard part.
CITRUS STAR: 10 YEARS TODAY
“Talent is not enough,” he admits from years of hard work.
“What makes a restaurant successful is the customers.” Our ecomony struggles and the competition in cuisien has become international. A chef is an artist, but Gilles Epié is also an owner, he likes to say that, “We have given a lot to this restaurant, and it has given us a lot in return.” Citrus Etoile has found its audience, he knew the customer he wanted to attract and it has worked for adecade.” And what is to come in the next five years?
What will 15 years bring?
– “We will see. “
answers the chef.
Written by Géraldine Martens