Paris Chef Pierre Jancou (Video)

Pierre Jancou is one of my favorite cooks in Paris. He does the seemingly simple task of taking raw elements – such as a pan of root vegetables – and making them taste better than you thought that vegetables could taste. I first came across his cooking when he was the chef/owner of Racines. I’d ordered a simple pasta Bolognese, which isn’t something I would usually order unless I was confident of the restaurant. (It’s one of those dishes that if done well, is great. But it takes a certain hand, and sensibility, to get it right.) However when I saw him slicing various kinds of Italian salumi (charcuterie) that I’d not seen in Paris, on a vintage Berkel slicer, into paper-thin slices and draping them on a plate, I took a chance on the pasta.

And I was glad I did: It was one of the best pastas I’ve ever had, anywhere. I still remember it today; a tangle of nearly translucent pasta just barely sauced (almost as if there wasn’t any on it), but the plate of pasta had a profoundly deep, meaty essence that I still remember nine years later.

Pierre went on to open Vivant and a wine bar next door to it, then nomadically took some time away from the kitchen, and is now back at Achille in Paris (43, rue Servan, 11th). I spent some time with him before he left Vivant, in the kitchen and at the bar, where he presided over an especially eclectic collection of natural wines, part of his mission to feature wines that are more than organic.

I’m looking forward to heading back to Achilles, now that it’s had time to find its legs. In the meantime, here’s a visit with the self-described “professional cook” Pierre Jancou.

Not shown: He made me tear up when he was talking about the beautiful products that he sources.

[More videos in my video archive.]


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36 comments

  • January 27, 2017 11:40am

    Get him to divulge his secrets for the roasted vegetables in a pan!

  • Charlotte K
    January 27, 2017 1:33pm

    Those tiles on the wall! How beautiful.

    In the segment before he does the veg in the pan (the salad, I mean) what does he put on top? It’s not clear to me what that is (he sort of revolves it and places it on top)

    • January 27, 2017 4:36pm
      David Lebovitz

      It’s a dome of broiled burrata ~

      • Charlotte K
        January 27, 2017 7:35pm

        OMG. Broiled burrata. OK.

      • Allison
        January 27, 2017 9:29pm

        That’s all cheese? Oh, how wonderful. Everything looks so delicious!

  • January 27, 2017 5:15pm

    That felt ethereal!

  • Amy Taylor
    January 27, 2017 5:18pm

    Love the video, David. I feel like I just went to France when really I’m freezing my you know what off in Wisconsin!

  • Paule Caillat
    January 27, 2017 5:35pm

    Let’s go !

  • January 27, 2017 6:17pm

    David, I loved this! Thank’s :-)

  • leslie green
    January 27, 2017 7:10pm

    Thank you. I’d love a dome of burrata right now.

  • January 27, 2017 7:20pm

    Love this video; wish I could eat like that everyday – from a mini garden of fresh veggies/herbs. Some veggie cooking lessons would be so valuable.

  • Linda
    January 27, 2017 8:11pm

    Very well-done video, David! Loved the music, shots in the kitchen and then back and forth between your perspective and Pierre’s. And the great food shots! Wish I could have a taste!

  • Ciara
    January 28, 2017 12:33am

    This video is fantastic! Thank you for a little visit to Paris. I can see why Vivant and Monsieur Jancou are favourites with you.

  • Katie
    January 28, 2017 1:36am

    What a lovely video! So fun to hear from the chef. Thanks for sharing.

  • stuart borken
    January 28, 2017 2:17am

    Thank you David for bringing me back to Paris. Loved your video. Loved his calling himself a cook, not a chef after only 24 years experience.

  • Bill McKinley
    January 28, 2017 9:08am

    Loved the video David. Do you know who did the music? Always looking for French music options.

    thanks

  • Amy K.
    January 28, 2017 7:26pm

    Thank you for sharing! You can really see his passion in the way he speaks.

  • Margi
    January 28, 2017 8:24pm

    Thank you for this tasty video, David. Made me want to rush right over to Achille even though I am deep in the heart of Texas. Superb!

  • Kim Smith
    January 29, 2017 12:51am

    Bravo, David! Artfully, professionally, well done! Loved “meeting” you. The new addition of videos is superb.

  • Kimmi
    January 29, 2017 3:32pm

    I’m visiting France at the end of March with my family, and we are spending our first two nights in Paris. Vivant looks like it is worth the 20 minute walk from our apartment to get there. I love exploring the bistros in Paris. Thanks for sharing. Your videos are so fun to watch!

    • January 30, 2017 3:46pm
      David Lebovitz

      Just a note that Pierre no longer is the owner of Vivant and has opened another place. He’s not the chef at his new restaurant but if there overseeing the food (and pouring natural wines).

    • Steve
      February 11, 2017 12:42pm

      He is not working in Vivant anymore.

  • ellen
    January 29, 2017 8:03pm

    there was only one problem I had with this “cook”. He smokes. I think that must ruin the palate. His vegetables looked lovely, but I wonder if the herb flavors were too strong because of his diminished ability to truly taste.

    • Steve
      February 9, 2017 3:34pm

      Yes he smokes. Or smoked. In fact the rest of the crew at Vivant also. And left me with an overcooked chocolate dessert in Vivant because they were too busy smoking outside the front door. Not so professional…
      Avoid smoking cooks at all times.

  • Tunie
    January 30, 2017 9:10pm

    Which “herbs” were with the chocolate caramel dessert? mint and what else? tarragon maybe? or fennel? super curious to know! thx!

  • Lisa
    January 31, 2017 4:52pm

    Oh my! David will you please, please do your culinary magic and create a version of Pierre’s caramel chocolate mousse or whatever it’s called? Even my taste buds are begging you. And the tile on the wall, unbelievably gorgeous, and surely original, wonder when it was built? Thanks so much for the delicious postcard from Paris!

  • Bonnie Baird
    February 1, 2017 3:15am

    That looks like a fabulous place! I love French food, thanks for sharing!

  • Johnny
    February 1, 2017 4:20pm

    Weep weep weep….when can I go back to Paris?!

  • Barbara Lane
    February 1, 2017 10:12pm

    I love the videos – however the background music here overpowered the dialog and although I watched and listened three times I couldn’t quite catch everything being said. That greatly takes away from the joy and experience of watching.

  • ron shapley
    February 3, 2017 4:27am

    So Dave, are you saying the
    “authentic”…..old world Bistro no longer exists ??

  • JBC
    February 4, 2017 1:09am

    He can serve me some love and passion anytime he wants.

  • Mary
    February 6, 2017 12:24am

    Any idea if these natural wines are available in the US? thank you for this video!

    • February 6, 2017 9:15am
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, some are, although you need to track them down. Depending on where you live, some stores specialize in natural wines. (Be aware that some are a bit wild-tasting, and not for everyone.) Wine expert Alice Feiring is one of the leading proponents of them, and some natural wines are now being produced in the United States, although my recommendation is go to into a knowledgable wine shop for guidance if you can.

  • Shelley Alder
    February 8, 2017 11:45am

    Great film, loved Pierre’s joyful attitude to food and the running of his restaurant. Can’t wait to visit later in the year.

  • Amy Troutner
    February 11, 2017 9:34am

    Hello!
    I’ve got to say that I’m so very interested in Chef Pierre Jancou’s Bolognese sauce!
    Did you get it from him? Would you or he share this gorgeous recipe?
    I’m infatuated by your description.
    Thank you!
    Amy

  • Chas
    February 17, 2017 2:37am

    Sorry David – this is the same pompous, preening fob we tried to dine with 10 years after your glowing recommendation of Racines (“not a wine bar”), only to be rudely chastised and chased away for not having a reservation. His rudeness and arrogance is well known among Paris foodies and restaurateurs – he could give away free plates of truffles, I still wouldn’t put up with this insufferable, pretentious bore.

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