“Top Chef” on M 6: Bérangère Fagart, from mime in Barcelona to the kitchens of Chaillot
“Just in the courtyard, behind, there were the stables and here was a tavern of musketeers”. Unalterable cap screwed on the head, Berangere Fagart, 34, candidate for season 14 of “Top Chef” on M 6, receives us in her Parisian restaurant. The dark façade with the sober “Sélune” logo contrasts with the warm and welcoming interior, with blond stone walls and whitewashed beams.
“It’s an old building with a sick soul, I completely fell in love, I fell in love with this house, she smiles. For my first restaurant, I hadn’t planned to have 65 seats from the start, but as we work a lot, we have to feel good there. I kind of feel like I’m out in the country here. The midday sun floods the room, which a mezzanine separates in two.
It feels like stepping into a seaside cabin. For a bit, you would expect to see a bit of sand on the way out. Sélune, moreover, is the name of one of the rivers that flow into the bay of Mont Saint-Michel, a region dear to the chef. She spent part of her youth there, in Jullouville, in the Manche department. In the seaside resort market, she sold sausage patties in the summer, seven years in a row from the age of 17.
A theater baccalaureate and a mime diploma
“I come from a family in which we always liked to cook, my parents, my grandmother who ran a restaurant, I also made dinners for my parents’ friends, says Bérangère. I had left that aside a bit, my father had warned me about the middle, but it was running through my head. She wanted to be an actress, went to boarding school in Caen at the age of 14 for a theater baccalaureate, then to Barcelona for a mime diploma. This path, she will deviate from it, then working in events, the organization of electro evenings, in a webzine of street art.
At 25, with the nerve and without training, she went to a semi-gastro in Paris, trained there for six months as a clerk. She will learn a lot, will also see that her father was right. “I have to say it… I suffered physical and moral violence, she says. One day, I took a punch in the stomach for having cut the fish badly… These are not legends, it’s true… I was alone with a chef, 80 hours a week, paid at minimum wage, I was treated like shit. »
It takes more to disgust her. “When I left, I said to myself that it was not possible for it to be the same everywhere. I wanted to cook so I will do it alone or on my own, with respect and kindness,” she recalls. His credo: “the pleasure of cooking for people, pleasing and sharing”. Cooking, that’s how she got to know it. That’s how she’s lived it ever since. She went through the office of the Electric Circus, wore Lilas, obtained a CAP as a free candidate in 2015, returned to music as a DJ agent for a year, became an assistant decorator for the cinema…
When, in 2016, she was offered the stoves of a bar in Belleville, she did not hesitate. Twenty covers every day of the week, she does everything there, from ordering to washing up. “It was the big leap, I had watched lots of YouTube videos but, left to my own devices, the first serve was a little ole ole,” she recalls with amu*****t. “I really found myself in front of my pans, my fish, my garnishes, my meats and said to myself: how am i going to cook all this “. The fold is quickly taken, it remains there two years.
It mixes land and sea with great generosity
After six months, his boss offered him to set up an evening restaurant. It will be Selune. “Another big challenge. In addition, I open in December 2019, I really had my nose on the timing… It was a bit rough. She took advantage of this ordeal to initiate actions within the Ecological Communityassociation of which she is president in charge of solidarity.
“Together, we are stronger I believe. The goal of the association is to bring together as many professionals as possible around sustainable food,” she explains. A deep eco-responsible commitment for the young woman who works “with direct producers or intermediaries of small producers who do things well”.
In its starter-main course-dessert menu at 25 euros for lunch or its evening menu with more elaborate proposals, it mixes land and sea with great generosity, offering dishes highlighting its dear Norman terroir. Thus, the nage of ****les deglazed with sake, with apples, fennel and a subtle hint of chilli that we taste. On the side, three roudoudous with clams, a nod to childhood and a lovely fresh caress on the palate. For the main course, four fine scallops from Granville, accompanied by a roasted butternut squash and smoked shiitakes with pine needles that his parents brought him from their garden in Jullouville. To finish, a baba with calva, apple and cider jelly, chestnut cream and fresh cream completes our journey in Normandy. Without a false note.
We understand that the production of ” Top chef “ approached her. She still can’t believe it. “I watched this show so much, I never thought I would be behind this screen one day. At first she says no, then lets herself be convinced, succeeds the casting… This Wednesday, she can leave the show. But already look ahead. In sight, the recovery of the restaurant of the National Theater of the dance of Chaillot. Just that ! “1, place du Trocadéro, it’s a great address! she enthuses.
The place will be called La Foule, La Foule de Chaillot, a nod to the play by Jean Giraudoux, and from March 15 offers a reduced formula for before and after shows – like a feeling of deja vu – as well only weekend brunches. The more complete opening of the 150-seat restaurant is scheduled for September. “Finding teams today is not easy, we want to do things well and gradually develop the restaurant part while respecting my values,” she explains. “A new challenge, it was really a dream to have a restaurant bar in a theatre”. And to combine entertainment and cuisine.
Sélune, 37 Bis rue de Montreuil in Paris (XI). From Tuesday to Friday 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.