3 chefs

Inaugurated last year for the first edition of Tables de Nantes, the coups de cœur (Favourite picks) have a particular weight for the jury and often mark a major event in the city’s current culinary events.

This does not mean that we think these are “the best restaurants” in our selection, but more like the ones we wish to follow: either because their approach to cuisine perfectly matches our criteria, or because they are young, promising establishments that are still fragile. These are exciting restaurants where the spirit of “Nantes-style” cuisine reigns passionate; places where talented chefs love and bring the best out of their excellent ingredients everyday and actively represent Nantes’ vineyards.

In a word, dedicated restaurants and cuisines d’auteurs that may not please everyone, but that strive for a strong identity.

In 2012, three of our coups de cœur left for Madrid as representatives of la cuisine nantaise to create “Nantes-style tapas” at a press conference in the residence of the French Ambassador to Spain. 2013 will also allow our coups de cœur to study abroad in another major European city that is also a partner of the Journey to Nantes.

Les Chants d’Avril

Christophe François
Can you tell us about your development as a chef and as a person?
From the age of 7, I wanted to be a chef! After a stint at the École Vatel, a Relais & Châteaux restaurant, then Patrick Cirotte’s Le Grenadin, at 25 I opened my first restaurant with my wife. 

Why did you choose to settle down in Nantes?
In 2008, we were looking for a dynamic city near the sea because I’m a passionate angler – for sea bass in particular. We were then charmed by this old 1950’s-era grocery store in the Champs de Mars neighbourhood we found.

What are your fetish ingredients?
Aside from unbelievably fresh fish, the fruits and vegetables picked every morning by local farmers, and the fresh unpasteurized milk we get from La Panetière, there’s also the 27 varieties of tomatoes in my own vegetable garden.

What are your favourite wines?
There are people here who create excellent Muscadets with such singular and unique qualities, depending on whether they come from Clisson, Vallet, Grandlieu or Ancenis. I’m always surprised they’re not on more restaurant wine lists, given their quality.

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Les Chants d’Avril
2 rue Laënnec
44000 Nantes
Tél. 02 40 89 34 76
www.leschantsdavril.fr

Lulu Rouget

Ludovic Pouzelgues

Can you tell us about your development as a chef and as a person?
Two extremely rich experiences: one at l’Atlantide, the other alongside Michel Troisgros (chef with three Michelin stars), which were both essential to my career path and gave me a certain idea of excellence.

Why did you choose to settle down in Nantes?
I was born here and have always loved it. It also happens to be a lively and creative city. Furthermore, I find it stimulating to be in the presence of all these chefs in their thirties, who are still evolving after training with the greatest chefs.

What are your fetish ingredients?
I attach great importance to Atlantic fish and seafood (sardines de Saint-Gilles, mackerel from La Turballe, fresh cod from Saint-Guénolé, Breton lobster, etc.) and the often magnificent regional vegetables (tomatoes, sprouts, beets, lamb’s lettuce, leeks, etc.)

What are your favourite wines?
Off the cuff, I’d say I have a penchant for wines from Anjou (René Mosse, Jo Pithon, etc.) but also for Muscadets (Domaine de l’Ecu, Jo Landron, etc.) and Vincent Caillé’s exceptional Gros Plant.

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Lulu Rouget
1 rue du Cheval Blanc
44000 Nantes
Tél. 02 40 47 47 98

L’U.Ni

Nicolas Guiet
Can you tell us about your development as a chef and as a person?
After l’Hôtel de la Plage (in the Finistère region) and le Domaine des Hauts de Loire (2 macarons in the Michelin guide), my most important experience was being Eric Guérin’s sous-chef (La Mare aux Oiseaux restaurant) for 5 years. He taught me all the ins and outs of the job.

Why did you choose to settle down in Nantes?
It’s a thriving city in the areas of art, culture and gastronomy. It also has the advantage of being geographically close to the Morbihan and Maine-et-Loire, where my wife and I are from.

What are your fetish ingredients?
They’d be mostly vegetal: vegetables, herbs… from the roots to the stalks! And the lovely fish and seafood from Croisic, La Turballe, the Île d’Yeu, etc.

What are your favourite wines?
Ones from the Nantes region, redynamized by young people who struggle everyday to produce complex and expressive regional wines, like Alexis Sauvion, Vincent Caillé, Pierre Luneau-Papin, etc.

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L’U.Ni
36 rue Fouré
44000 Nantes
Tél. 02 40 75 53 05