Silencio, Paris' famous nightclub, had to close during the pandemic but has pivoted with an exceptional culinary pop-up.
We live in pandemic times, which means restaurants are the first to be hard hit by the crisis. It also means international collaboration in between chefs is at a standstill.
Faced with this unique situation, the disruptive Parisian Silencio Club found a way to keep borders open:
“We have to invent unconventional and sustainable ways to foster creativity and continue to bring international flavours forward”, founder Arnaud Frisch explains, before adding, “We asked six under-40, confined, European talents – three men and three women – to craft a menu together."
It took the bright team less than two months to raise the bar and come up with a menu that was first served at the Silencio Pop-Up in the heart of Saint-Germain, Paris, in September.
Since, the Pop-Up has been so successful it is now opening its door to a festival of chefs “beyond borders” curated by food critic Andrea Petrini, and has been extended indefinitely.
But back to this twelve-hand culinary adventure. First, the five chefs and sommelier were selected for sharing a common philosophy: a commitment to sustainable gastronomy and locally sourced, seasonal produce.
Secondly, all participants nurture ties with other creative disciplines such as fashion, contemporary art or photography. “Even if they all have their own background and food culture, it was wonderful to work with European minds”, explains chef Chloé Charles, who was in charge of speaking to all chefs to collect recipes, test and execute them.
What did this panel look like? Take 29-year old Anglo-Brazilian chef Ixta Belfrage best known for writing Yotam Ottolenghi’s books. Based in Copenhagen, Frederik Bille Brahe, 37, is a strong advocate of Nordic cuisine; he collaborated with artist Danh Vo at the National Gallery, Denmark.
Further South, at Masseria Moroseta in Puglia, Giorgia Eugenia Goggi, 30, runs a farm-to-table that celebrates exceptional produce. Filmmaker and photographer turned chef Alex Paganelli, 32, is known for curating DeadHungry diners in East London.
Also famous, 35-year old David Zilber acts as the fermentation-guru for Noma in Copenhagen while sommelier Honey Spencer fights, at 32, for natural wines and responsible practices. Spencer is recognized as one the 100 most influential women in the hospitality industry.
What did the menu look like in the end? Well, each guest had the choice between 4 starters, 6 mains and 5 deserts, all unique in their own way. Would you choose smoked oyster-mushrooms served with foamy corn over a squid crudo prepared with almonds and miso or a grilled, chimichurri-marinated octopus? Care for a tomato desert infused with vanilla and citrussy herbs to finish the dinner off?
“We would have never come to such a wild menu if it weren’t for the pandemic”, chef Chloé Charles concludes.