Julien Dumas, the former chef of Alain Ducasse’s luxury hotel Domaine des Andéols in Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt in the Vaucluse and Rech in Paris, left for Panache at Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec in 2012, returned to Paris at the end of 2013 and took over the reins of Lucas Carton just a few months later. The venerable one Michelin-star Parisian institution adorned with Art Nouveau decor by Louis Majorelle, highlighted by delicate wood paneling, is a symbol of the new codes of contemporary gastronomy, and here guests will savor Carton’s signature dishes like grilled cauliflower or whiting with buckwheat. Respectful of nature and ingredients, Grenoble-born Julien Dumas knows how to make the best of beautiful products, and his well-balanced dishes carry the taste of “made in France” with responsible choices: small producers, locally-grown and seasonal produce and sustainable fishing.
This ecologist at heart only cooks fish sourced responsibly, offering diners a taste of his childhood, when he used to lift up rocks during high tide and get his hands all scratched up. So you’ll find tiny velvet crabs, sea urchin, mussels and caviar on the menu in the spirit of what he found under those rocks. In the kitchen, you’ll monkfish, red mullet, dogfish and plaice delivered in the morning – for the most part species that are little valued like wrasse with its red and green spots, which is most often used in soup because it contains a lot of bones. Aware of the great fragility of marine resources, the chef works with fishermen who respect the ocean and has been cooking only local fish and crustaceans for years, paying tribute to unknown species that, unlike seabass or cod, are not overfished. At the beginning, he started to put other fish on the menu for economic reasons, but this constraint forced him to look for solutions, and he discovered other varieties that he considered more beautiful and different.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To share a simple dinner with people whom I love.
What is your best quality?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to be a lot more organized.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Who or what brought you to cooking?
Jean-François Piège and Jacques Maximin.
How would you describe your cuisine and your culinary approach?
Close to nature and spontaneous.
What is your latest food obsession?
Mullet, but it changes all the time.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
Mullet just grilled on the barbecue on bincho-tan charcoal.
What are some of your favorite ingredients?
Fish, mushrooms, everything “wild”.
What does olive oil represent in your cooking philosophy, and what does it add to your cuisine?
The final touch.
How do you choose a good olive oil?
It must best represent the fruit.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Our compost and managing our waste better and better.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Reading people’s minds to better satisfy them.
What is your greatest fear?
That human beings don’t change their habits to save our planet.
What is your current state of mind?
I’m tired, hahaha.