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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 eventually sold the restaurant and wine bar.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.

[More videos in my video archive.]


36 comments

    • Taste of France

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

    • Charlotte K

    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)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It’s a dome of broiled burrata ~

        • Charlotte K

        OMG. Broiled burrata. OK.

        • Allison

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

    • Brianna DuMont

    That felt ethereal!

    • Amy Taylor

    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

    Let’s go !

    • Agneta

    David, I loved this! Thank’s :-)

    • leslie green

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

    • italian girl cooks

    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

    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

    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

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

    • stuart borken

    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

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

    thanks

    • Amy K.

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

    • Margi

    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

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

    • Kimmi

    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!

      • David
      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

      He is not working in Vivant anymore.

    • ellen

    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

      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

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

    • Lisa

    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

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

    • Johnny

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

    • Barbara Lane

    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

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

    • JBC

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

    • Mary

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

      • David
      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

    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

    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

    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.

A

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