A Young Parisian Chef with a Theatrical Flair – The New York Times


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Julien Sebbag, a self-taught chef and caterer, has turned his cheeky Instagram videos into high-profile restaurant stints.
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Name: Julien Sebbag
Age: 29
Hometown: Paris
Currently Lives: A light-filled loft apartment in Belleville, the 20th Arrondissement of Paris
Claim to Fame: Mr. Sebbag is a self-trained caterer-turned-chef who parlayed his wildly theatrical cooking style into high-profile restaurant stints and collaborations with lifestyle brands. When restaurants shut down during the pandemic, he began posting sexy cooking tutorials on Instagram. In one, Mr. Sebbag suggestively peels the leaves off an artichoke. In another, he casually fillets a fish and cures it with salt to the seductive sounds of LCD Soundsystem. He now has more than 85,000 followers. “It’s almost a meditative moment for me to cook for myself,” Mr. Sebbag said. “And when I take care of the music and the lights, like I do in my restaurant, I am immersed into a universe. It’s almost like time stops.”
Big Break: As a private chef, he worked in well-heeled homes in Paris, Madrid, Tel Aviv and London, where videos of him splattering tahini on roasted eggplant and other entertaining moves were widely shared on social media. In 2018, thanks to the support of one of this clients, Jean-David Sarfati (an owner of a hospitality and restaurant group in Paris), Mr. Sebbag started a Tuesday dinner called Chez Oim at Bus Palladium, a live music hall in Pigalle. That was followed by a summer stint at Creatures, the rooftop restaurant at Galeries Lafayette, the venerable department store on Boulevard Haussmann.
Latest Project: Last summer, he opened Forest, a concept restaurant inside the Musée d’Art Moderne that is named after his favorite song by the Cure. The indoor-outdoor spot serves dishes like Green Peace, a vegetarian appetizer of roasted green cabbage, cashew nuts and ginger. In September, he represented the restaurant at the Taste of Paris food fair, where he held his own alongside Michelin-starred chefs. “I felt more confident,” he said. “I didn’t feel like an impostor anymore.”
Next Thing: This summer, he plans to open a sandwich shop called Micho somewhere in the First Arrondissement, based on a pop-up event that he did last year featuring stuffed challah sandwiches. He also hopes to open another location of Forest in Brussels.
Food is Fashion: When he’s not in a kitchen, Mr. Sebbag has collaborated with brands including the Champagne house Ruinart (for a pop-up restaurant in Paris) and Maison Valentino (as a model for a fashion spread in Numéro magazine). His dream is to create a fashionable line of chefs’ attire. “They’re never beautiful or comfortable,” he said.
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