Chef Eric Chavot on new Putney riverside restaurant
Michelin star chef Eric Chavot teams up with local restaurateur Durga Misra on Putney’s riverfront
Eric Chavot may be best known for his iconic restaurants, Michelin stars and his ‘Press for Champagne’ Bob Bob Ricard success but this month the chef has joined up with his former protégé and restaurant owner, Durga Misra to co-create a new menu for Putney. The Paris meets Pondicherry menu celebrates the chefs’ two favourite cities and is running until 31 May at Durga’s Putney riverside eatery, Bistro Vadouvan. Chantal Borciani sits down with both chefs to find out more.
What is it like teaming back up?
Durga: Teaming up with Eric again is such a joy. Getting the chance to work with him again is really exciting for us both. Everything he’s taught me along the way I use in my day-to-day cooking.
Eric, what is your greatest memory of mentoring Durga?
His laugh and permanent smile (which comes from his heart!). He is one of the most positive people I know and is such a hard worker, it was fantastic to have him in the team.
Durga: I will always remember on my first day in London, working at the two Michelin starred restaurant One-O-One. Eric showed me around the kitchen and said to me, “What’s mine, is yours”. That simple sharing of his vision marked the beginning of our long-term friendship.
Tell us about the menu you’ve both created.
Durga: The Paris meets Pondicherry menu is a blend of two cultures. It gives diners the ‘Je ne sais quoi’ of the west, whilst providing the vibrant flavours from the east.
We are doing an eastern inspired beef tartare, which will be served on a bed of smoked tandoori aubergine, with confit lemon and pickled green chilli. To follow we are serving gurnard, baked in banana leaf and marinated in a lime and chilli paste. To finish, desserts will include saffron and cardamom poached pear with mascarpone and pistachio cream.
Eric, what do you love about the menu?
It’s Durga’s style I love. It’s a unique blend of French and Indian cuisine, which has evolved to create an amazing mix of the best of these cuisines.
How would you describe Bistro Vadouvan?
Durga: Bistro Vadouvan is all about comfort food, we wanted to create dishes that showcase the perfect blend of ‘French meets spice’. The position we have in Putney is also really special – the combination of the riverside view and the friendly neighbourhood is unique.
What is your all-time favourite dish to cook?
Eric: Daube de boeuf Provençale… it always takes me back to my youth in the south of France.
What advice would you give budding chefs?
Eric: Be sure that it’s your passion so that every day is rewarding and fulfilling and not just a job.
What’s your most memorable day in the kitchen?
Eric: The day I opened Brasserie Chavot. Since I was a teenage apprentice I wanted to work in a beautiful brasserie in Paris. It was a thirty-year journey with an incredible end!