Meet L’entrepot’s new chef: Stéfan Laugénie

ImageFor the last three weeks there’s been some subtle changes going on at L’entrepot – our Hackney wine bar and kitchen. Stéfan Laugénie started as our new head chef and over the coming months we’ll all have the chance to taste his amazing food as he expands the menu.

Stéfan hails from Bergerac, in the South-West of France, which is incidentally the same place that Muriel is from (they used to kick around together in their youth). They share a similar philosophy on dining, and of course, a particular love of good wine and how it satisfies the soul in conjunction with good food.

Stéfan has been cooking in France and around the world for 28 years. He last cooked in London in the late 90’s, and since then he has mainly worked in Paris apart from a period spent at the loneliest French Brasserie in the world – in a fishing port in Nova Scotia, Canada.

In Paris, Stéfan has worked at a selection of notable Brasseries and Bistros. His last project was setting up and running the kitchen at Le Petit Bain (the little bath), a floating restaurant and music venue on the Seine that has proved to be an incredibly popular destination for Parisians. Ready for a new challenge, he was across the Channel as soon as he could settle his affairs.

Stéfan’s cooking style is closely linked with the food heritage of his home. The rich and delectable flavours of confit duck, truffles and foie gras are typical of the region, and are areas that Stéfan will be exploring for all of our benefit on the L’entrepot menu.

When I talked to Stéfan he was in the middle of preparing some mallard duck as the special main dish (which is on now so come in and try it). The mallard duck is commonly known as wild duck – they can grow a lot bigger than normal ducks and have more fat, so the meat is richer and more full of flavour. An integral part of his philosophy of food is to find the best ingredients, prepare them with respect, and offer them at an accessible price to the public.

Stéfan’s main focus with L’entrepot will be to serve the food that he loves to cook with a market fresh and seasonal approach. Wherever he can he will source local and sustainable products, and has even been braving the wilds of Hackney Marshes for food of a true local flavour. Stéfan gave me the most amazing glistening green sauce to taste, which was an oil made with freshly harvested wild nettles (see picture). It was a flavour explosion on its own, but would be a perfect accompaniment to cooked meats (it’s on with the duck at the moment), or just simply slathered on some fresh bread.

Overall, the menu won’t be changing radically – it will be slowly expanding and evolving as Stéfan settles in. Small dishes and shared plates will continue to be a large part of the menu, and there will always be at least one hot main course to satisfy those with a larger appetite. I’d say the biggest change with Stéfan’s menu will be that rather than selecting food from the menu to match your wine, you’ll be selecting the wine to match your food.

One Response to “Meet L’entrepot’s new chef: Stéfan Laugénie”
  1. Miss Vena says:

    Looking forward to sampling Stefan’s wares!

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