Good food and good design have long been fond aquaintances, but on 26 January, at the first annual 'Paris des Chefs ' held at the Maison et Objet trade show, the two worlds were formally married.
Open to the general public, the one-day event featured nine different creative pairings, combining a chef with a designer, artist, architect, photographer or filmmaker.
Cultural references abounded and some of the pairings had previous connections, but the nature of each collaboration varied. Chef Michel Troisgros came with architect Patrick Bouchain (designer of his establishment La Colline du Colombier), who challenged the chef to cook a perfect, runny omelette 'like nobody knows how to make anymore.' When Troisgros covered it with black truffle shavings, the audience practically stormed the stage for a taste.
Thorsten Schmidt traveled all the way from his restaurant in the Danish countryside, Malling & Schmidt, to present ice cream flavoured with wood from his region's oak trees (sensational). While French designer Eric Benqué crafted a simple dish and spoon on the spot from Burgundy oak - very Arne Jacobsen.
Iñaki Aizpitarte, of the buzzy bistro Le Chateaubriand, reinterpreted the classic buttered radish for a flat porcelain plate with a ribbon by designer Anne Xiradakis, who experiments with the gestures of serving food.
Jean-Franèois Piège (Les Ambassadeurs) whipped up five different 'amuse bouches' for India Mahdavi's TV tray. And Pascal Barbot came with filmmaker Paul Lacoste, who compared chefs' individual styles to those of painters, and recently shot a documentary inside the tiny kitchen at L'Astrance. Barbot said that cooking in front of a camera made him reflect on his technique, 'much more than the stupid questions journalists usually ask'.