What is Omnivore?
It’s a food festival that travels the world celebrating “jeune cuisine,” putting creative chefs and food artisans on stage to share their ideas. Culinary rock stars (current, rising, former) give 45 minute cooking demonstrations and speeches on one of three different stages: Savory, Sweet, or Artisan. The festival will return once again to Paris on March 16-18 and there’s a few things you should know:
- This is the 10 year anniversary of when Omnivore first coined the term “jeune cuisine,” and they’ll be celebrating with a line-up composed of speakers who were young… 10 years ago. Maybe not even then. Pierre Gagnaire? Jeune cuisine indeed at age 63.
- For a festival that is ostensibly about food, there’s actually very little to eat at Omnivore. So unless you intend to make a lunch of out of butter samples, you’ll want to pack snacks or plan to grab lunch in the neighborhood.
- Most of the presentations will be in French.
- For the first time this year, there will also be a stage for beverages featuring presentations from bartenders.
- Tickets are 40€ and 109€ for a three-day pass.
- There’s the actual festival, and then there’s the other half of the festival: the dinners and the parties. Unfortunately, most of the latter are already sold out (see below for the schedule).
The Actual Festival: Our Dream Schedule
We’ve obsessively analyzed the entire line up of speakers so you don’t have to. Here’s our handpicked selection of which presentations you shouldn’t miss. See you in the audience!
If you only make it for one day, make sure it’s this one: Toutain, Dufour, Selosse, Dubois. This is what food porn dreams are made of!
The festival starts at 10am. Assume that the halls will be empty first thing on Sunday morning (sorry, Florent Ladeyn) and that the first sessions will probably start 30 minutes after the stated time.
10:40am- 11:15am David Toutain, Restaurant David Toutain (Scène Salé) – Start the day off right with the talented chef, formerly of Agapé Substance, who made his triumphant return to Paris in late December. His cerebral, vegetable centric cooking has thrilled Parisian diners and will remain one of the most talked about openings of the year.
11:20am-12:05pm Alexandre Drouard and Samuel Nahon, Terroirs d’Avenir (Scène Artisan) – Terroirs d’Avenir is the single most influential produce supplier in the city. This promises to be interesting.
12:10pm-12:55pm This is the Sophie’s Choice moment of Omnivore. You’ve got Hugue Dufour of M. Wells Steakhouse on the Scène Salé going head to head with Anselme Selosse of Domaine Jacques Selosse on the Scène Artisan.
On the one hand, the Montreal-born Dufour has managed to continuously keep New York City diners on their toes and on the subway to the outer boroughs with his over-the-top and idiosyncratic cooking in quirky locations. Along with partner Sarah Obraitis, he opened the much loved (but short-lived) M. Wells Diner in Queens and a cafeteria-style dinette inside Moma PS1. Most recently, the pair have shaken up the steakhouse genre with the M. Wells Steakhouse, housed in a former auto-body shop and featuring a trough of fresh trout.
On the other, Domaine Jacques Selosse is almost universally revered as one of the world’s best Champagnes among wine geeks. His growers’ Champagnes are some of the most interesting you can find, are produced on such a small scale that they are nearly impossible to find, and Anselme Selosses is so notoriously reclusive that Domaine Jacques Selosse has a certain cult-like status.
Our verdict: You can’t lose with either one, but we’re choosing Selosse (and praying for samples).
2:00pm-2:40pm Amaury Guyot, Sherry Butt (Scène Beverages) – This overlaps with Guillaume Monjuré (see below) but Guyot is the owner of one of our absolute favorite craft cocktail bars so we’ll at least go for half.
2:20pm-2:55pm Guillaume Monjuré, Palégrié (Scène Salé) – Our Consulting Features Editor Alexander Lobrano “liked his precisely prepared and deliciously inventive modern French bistrot cooking so much that I ate here twice on my last trip to Lyon.”
3:30pm-4:15pm Laurent Dubois, Fromagerie Laurent Dubois (Scène Artisan) – One of our absolute favorite fromageries in the whole city (therefore, the world). Dubois is a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) which is the cheesemongering equivalent of winning a gold in the Olympics. If you don’t speak French, check out the Australian trio from Three Blue Ducks on the Scène Salé at the same time.
4:14pm-4:55pm Carlos Madriz, Le Mary Celeste (Scène Beverages) – One of the most talented bartenders in the city from one our absolute favorite craft cocktail bars.
10:00am-10:35am Pierre Giannetti and Marine Crousnillon, Le Grain de Sel (Scène Salé) – Our Features Editor Alexander Lobrano recently declared in Saveur that Marseille is “evolving into one of the most interesting dining destinations in France. Le Grain de Sel exemplifies this new wave.”
10:30am-11:15am Gabriele Bonci, Pizzarium (Scène Artisan) vs. Colin Fassnidge, Four in Hand (Scène Salé) – It’s a toss-up between the Pizza King of Rome and the Simon Cowell of Australian food television. We’re partial to pizza, but if you’ve got tickets for Tuesday, Bonci will be on stage again so go for Fassnidge.
11:00am-11:30am Claire Damon, Des Gateaux et Du Pain, (Scène Sucré) – One of the only female speakers and one of the only Sweets stage presenters we’re excited about.
11:20-12:05 Pino Cuttaia, Ristorante La Madia vs. Tiphaine Hameau, La Grenouillère – Another toss-up. A Michelin starred Sicilian chef or the gardener from La Grenouillère, the restaurant named “The One to Watch” on last year’s San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants List? We don’t care enormously about either. This session all comes down to whichever seat you’re already in and how little energy you have to move.
12:10pm-12:45pm Pascal Barbot, L’Astrance – There is no other option. I mean, technically there is. Under any other circumstances we’d be delighted to see the very compelling, genuinely interesting Hippolyte Courty of L’Arbe à Café speak, but you can go to our absolute favorite coffee shop any day and they’ll gladly talk your ear off. This is your one chance to hear Barbot.
3:30pm-4:15 pm Christophe Vasseur, Du Pain et Des Idées (Scène Artisan) – We love his beautiful bakery and the even more beautiful pastries and bread that come from the wood burning oven.
4:15pm-4:50pm Alexandre Gauthier, La Grenouillère (Scène Salé) – He’s sort of a staple on the Omnivore stage at this point, but he’s always compelling. Named as the “The One to Watch” on last year’s San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants List, we had one of the most memorable meals of the year at his restaurant.
10:00am-10:35am James Henry, Bones (Scène Salé) – Given that the major Omnivore party is the evening beforehand, we’re taking bets on if Henry will actually be awake at 10am… Then again, he regularly has to wake up early in the morning to bake his famous fresh bread for Bones. We’re requesting samples for the audience, please. With butter.
11:30am-12:05pm Mathieu Viannay, La Mère Brazier (Scène Salé) – La Mère Brazier is a two-starred Lyonnaise mainstay much loved by our Features Editor Alexander Lobrano who said “Aside from Viannay’s terrific cooking…the well-drilled young service, an excellent and fairly priced list of Cote du Rhone valley wines…mean La Mère Brazier is once again pulling le tout Lyon.”
12:10pm-12:45pm Gabriele Bonci, Pizzarium (Scène Salé) – The celebrated pizza maker and bread baker will be traveling from Rome along with translator Francesca Tradard, formerly the sommelier at Rino who has since moved on to No.Au.
12:20pm-12:55pm Thierry Mulhaupt, Patisserie Mulhaupt (Scène Sucré) – There is a little overlap with Bonci, so plan to see Bonci’s other presentation on Monday if you’re a sweets freak. Mulhaupt is one of the best bakers and chocolatiers in Strasbourg so we’re excited to see what he brings to the table.
2:45-pm-3:25pm Julien Escot, Papa Doble (Scène Beverages) – Escot is a leader in the French bartending scene from Montpellier and was named French Barman of the year at last year’s Cocktails and Spirits Awards in Paris.
5:10 pm-5:55 pm Gregory Marchand, Frenchie (Scène Artisan) vs. Christian Puglisi, Relae (Scène Salé) – To be honest, we’re not sure we’ll make it all the way to last session on the last day, but if you’re stronger than we are then these are heavy hitters. You’ve got the chef of the ever expanding Frenchie empire. But perhaps you’re Frenchie fatigued at this point? In which case, you’ve got a Noma alum whose restaurant was just named #56 Best in the World in 2013. If you’re still conscious, you win either way. We’ll be unwinding with a glass at Café de la Nouvelle Mairie.
The Parties & The Dinners
There are 5 “Fucking Dinners” total (with seats still available for the dinners at Table and Ze Kitchen Galerie).
Happy learning, feasting and partying!