As well as for Popl, René Redzepi's hamburger shop (the chef will soon close Noma, transforming it into an experimental laboratory), born as a pop-up during the pandemic which then became a permanent establishment in 2020, also Jòia Bun, a new place with the signature of Hélène Darroze was born on the basis of a similar experience. Voilà Jòia Burger - a very informal proposal designed for delivery and take-out - developed during the long months of restrictions imposed by Covid. "When the restaurant finally reopened, we had to close it with regret," she says, explaining that when a place a few hundred metres from Jòia became available, she decided to take back that concept and thus expand her "collection" of places. Said and done: scheduled opening is on March 7th, 2023.
What is Jòia Bun by Hélène Darroze
The inspiration is American diners, but with the imprint of Darroze (in the wake of other authorial hamburger series, such as Mauro Colagreco's) starting from the attention to ingredients, seasonal, authentic, of quality and as local as possible - "at least 95% of the products come from France" - and care for the producers with whom she has long working relationships with, such as Huguenin in Paris for meat, Beñat in Saint-Jean de Luz for cheese, Dupérier for duck foie gras, and Kaviari for shellfish. The menu? From Jòia's fried chicken to mac and cheese croquetas, but above all hamburgers: with Aubrac beef, wagyu, with Landes chicken, with fish and veg options, chips with fried rosemary and Basque sheep's milk cheese, salads, and desserts, equally in line with the familiar style of the restaurant: biscuits, Italian gelato and a selection of Maritozzi pastries: Hélène's "guilty pleasure." All home made, from sauces to breads to desserts (prepared at Marsan par Hélène Darroze, at 4 Rue d'Assas), all made express, made to order (also for take-out, obviously with sustainable packaging), all seasonal: "no fresh tomatoes except between June and October” with a Basque twist.
Who is Hélène Darroze
Originally from the Landes, in southwestern France, Darroze is one of the great ladies of international gastronomy. Famous enough to deserve a Barbie inspired by her, and even before her, to be the model for the character of Colette in the Pixar film Ratatouille. Fourth generation of a family of restaurateurs, with a degree in economics, she entered the kitchen through the back door, interested in the organisational part and determined to stay behind the scenes until Monsieur Ducasse intercepted her talent, giving rise to a successful career that was also entrepreneurial. Not content with staying too long in the family restaurant, Relais & Châteaux in Villeneuve-de-Marsan in the Landes, she decided at the age of 32 to play solo. Her first restaurant (awarded two Michelin stars), homonymous, on the Rive Gauche in Paris, in Saint-Germain des Prés, in 2019 was completely renovated and relaunched with the name Marsan by Hélène Darroze, a name that refers to the capital of her native region, clear reference to her land and its great products, which have always been the heart and soul of her cuisine, carefully selected and always elaborated with great respect. In Paris there are also Joia, with head chef Fulvio Piscedda, in the 2nd Arrondissement, inaugurated in September 2018, a modern bistro where the chef expresses gastronomic autobiography by combining the traditional recipes of her childhood in the south-west of France with the inspirations that derive from her travels around the world, always starting from the most local ingredients possible. The collaboration with Villa La Coste hotel dates back to July 2021, in the heart of the Château La Coste estate, near Aix-en-Provence, a place that seems to renew Darroze's pact of love with the agricultural world and its fruits, true protagonists of her table, as in the menu Walk in the gardens of Provence.
Hélène Darroze in London
In 2010 chef Darroze crossed the Channel to open Hélène Darroze at The Connaught: extremely elegant, welcoming, bright, luminous cuisine that is the expression of the seasons and the territories (just think of the consommés that open each menu) which has earned three Michelin stars, also thanks to fundamental support of the team led by Marco Zampese in the kitchen, one of the many Italian presences in the Mayfair hotel, where restaurant manager Mirko Benzo and manager of the magnificent cellar (more than 20,000 bottles), Daniel Manetti, also work. But let's not forget that on the same floor of the restaurant there is also one of the most famous bars in the world, several times in first place in the 50 Best bars (this year won by Italian Giacomo Giannotti with the crazy cocktails of Paradiso in Barcelona) led by Agostino Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani with their extraordinary Martinis and personalised service with gueridon.
Jòia Bun’s - France - Paris - 16 Rue de la Michodière - +33 145742494 - helenedarroze.com
by Antonella De Santis
cover photo by Gurler Gulben