Anthony Desbordes, chef at “Chez Louis”: “My cooking never leaves my mind”

At 42, he has a 26-year career. Anthony Desbordes has worked with great chefs and multiplied his experiences: starred restaurants, small brasseries, ephemeral restaurants… From all these peregrinations, the Chalonnais has made his culinary mark. Today, Anthony has put down his suitcases at “Chez Louis”, with a breathtaking view of the Saint-Vincent cathedral.

“It’s true, I had the opportunity to work with good chefs: Jean-Pierre Gillot (Moulin de Martorey), Georges Blanc, Bruno Sohn, in Alsace, Nicolas Niros or Patrick Beaulieu, my apprentice chef . They have been important in my life. »

However, before his 16th birthday, Anthony Desbordes never imagined himself for a moment becoming a chef…

“I wanted to be a mechanic, but I couldn’t find an apprenticeship master, explains this Chalonnais. I tried the building and felt right away that I wouldn’t like it. So when I was 16, I started an apprenticeship in Chagny, at the Auberge de la Musardière. This is where a chef gave me a taste for cooking. »

At the end of his apprenticeship, Anthony was sent to Méribel, becoming “second” in the kitchen. “Spending a season is very formative, it doesn’t stop, you learn to manage responsibilities and pressure. »

And the jobs multiplied, according to his travels: “I took my car, a bunch of CVs with me that I distributed in places that I liked. I even did events: at the Cannes festival, we set up an ephemeral restaurant on the roof of a casino, in Alsace too. »

A year spent on the island of Reunion then 5 years on the Côte d’Azur broadened his culinary palette.

Back in his native region, he worked for Georges Blanc at the opening of the 3 Michelin star brasserie in Vonnas (Ain), then chef at the Saint-Georges brasserie.

His culinary touch was nourished by all these peregrinations: “I learned from all these cuisines, mine is an interpretation, my own style. »

Think about it when you sit down at Chez Louis

Precisely, we find Anthony at 1er floor of Chez Louis, in the spacious and bright new kitchen. Two other assistant cooks are busy.

Every morning, 6 days out of 7, the chef starts his day with purchases, around 6.30 a.m.: only fresh and seasonal products! He does not compromise with this requirement. Once everything has been tidied up and stored, it’s ready in the kitchen, a little before 8 a.m., preparation time: “For example, this afternoon, I have poultry ballotines for the dish of the day. They are cooking under vacuum at low temperature, it will give something very tender, very juicy. Joffrey and Luc come to assist the chef around 9 a.m. Wash the salad, cook the eggs, all the preparations are essential.

The set-ups are never identical: “Since we do everything in house with fresh produce, seasonal vegetables bought that morning, we don’t really have a stock, we buy in the morning, we cook for the noon and we start again the next day. »

And when the customers sit down, in the dining room or on the terrace, up there, in the kitchen, it’s a waltz: “Some days, we make 50 to 60 covers, it’s intense. You have to be reactive, focused and I want to have an eye on everything that comes out. We don’t touch the ground. The first year, it was the Covid, and 2 years later, we exploded. Joffrey has been assisting me for 2 months, he adapted quickly and Thibeault gives me a very useful helping hand. We move well together. Services are going well and people are happy. »

Anything but routine

Repeated gestures do not exclude creativity, quite the contrary. To develop his menus, Anthony has no “recipe” in the sense of a procedure: “My dish of the day, I don’t think about it in advance. I have to see the products, I have to want a product. Then I work around that. It’s hard to explain: I don’t need to think, I have tastes in my head. I know that such an ingredient married to another, it will match. It didn’t come like that, it’s the result of an experience. »

“You have to have ideas every day. It’s stimulating. I adore. In fact, my cooking never leaves me, even when I’m not at work. »

His driving force is pleasure: “I enjoy what I do, I have fun in the kitchen. Seeing all these colors, even bread baking in the oven… And when people are happy, it’s even better! »

And the stars, do you think about it?

Does Anthny have a nostalgia for starred restaurants? “For 25 years, I worked in breaks: from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. then from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. It’s very hard to have a family life on the side. When my boy was born, I saw him very little, 10 min in the morning, 10 min in the evening.

And then here, we don’t have a star, but a very good value for money. It is important to me that my kitchen is accessible to everyone. Whether it’s called a “pretty bistro cuisine” or a “beautiful brasserie”, it strikes a perfect balance.

And I’m fine here. It’s intense, but Manu [Emmanuel Maréchal, propriétaire de Chez Louis, NDLR] built me ​​a brand new kitchen upstairs, with space, light, all the equipment and… a view of the cathedral.

By Nathalie Dunand
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