Jean-Louis Nomicos is a chef in the kitchen. And I mean it! He’s not playing jury in a TV show, he’s not showing off in the media, or traveling the world to open more restaurants. Nomicos is always present in his Parisian restaurant, Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos, making sure everything is working to perfection. And if he travels, it is to export French gastronomy and make it known to the world.
Charming, gentle, discreet, modest, reserved… so many adjectives that describe Jean-Louis Nomicos.
When asked if he is pleased with his impressive career, he answers: “Yes, of course, but I don’t save lives.”
When asked if he is proud of his Michelin star, he answers: “First we have to be passionate about our work and please the client, the Michelin star is here to accompany us, to keep the standards high every day.”
Nomicos started his career working for Alain Ducasse – watching, learning, improving, listening, and travelling with him all over the world. At the age of 27, he finally became a chef at la Grande Cascade, located in the Bois de Boulogne. That was a springboard for his years at the famous two Michelin-star restaurant Lasserre, in the 8th arrondissement in Paris. This is where he forged his technique before opening his own restaurant in 2010, Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos. He was rewarded with a Michelin star barely one year after the opening.
What’s in a Michelin Star?
For those who are not so familiar, the Michelin guide is considered the only true reference in world gastronomy. Have you ever asked yourself about the origins of this oh-so-famous institution?
It all started in 1900 when the tire producer Michelin published the “Guide Rouge” (the Red Book) and distributed it for free. The ultimate reference for restaurants and hotels was at its beginning a guide for motorists to find the nearest mechanics and doctors. You could find maps and some recommended places to discover in the book.
In 1920, hotels and restaurants began to be listed in the guide – the same year that the guide was no longer handed out for free. It’s been said that when André Michelin, one of the founders of the company, discovered that his books were wedging a workbench, he was so deeply offended he decided to start charging for the guides.
The stars and the classifications appeared in the book in 1931, classifying the restaurants according to different criteria: one star for a good restaurant, two stars for excellent cooking, or three for exceptional cuisine. It’s also that same year the infiltrated inspectors came into the picture. They unexpectedly visit the restaurants and write a detailed report about the quality of the food and the service. In 1900, 35,000 copies were published, and by 2000, this expanded to 880,000. In recent years, the expansion of the internet led to the decline of the print run.
To keep up the Michelin star’s challenge, 25 people work for chef Jean-Louis Nomicos, with 15 present every single day. He is conscious that the enchantment begins when the client opens the door. Warm décor, perfect service, excellent food!
Nomicos is described by his employees as direct, frank and sincere. It’s largely reflected in his southern, convivial, and simple yet elegant cuisine.
Born in a suburb of Marseille, he grew up in a multicultural Mediterranean environment where Italians, Syrians, Lebanese and many others mingled, and where the grandmas used to exchange their recipes. Nomicos is proud of his heritage and he doesn’t hesitate to highlight it in his cuisine. His famous signature dish, Macaroni aux truffes noires et foie gras (Macaroni with black truffles and foie gras), is a very successful combination of his legacy and his creativity.
At Taste of Paris 2015, this dish was such a success that his team had to work the whole night to prepare more macaroni to serve the day after.
In his restaurant, there are many other dishes on the menu that reflect his childhood. I had the chance to taste the ravioli de bourrache, crevettes, velouté saffrané et oursinade (raviolis with borage, shrimps, saffron velouté with sea urchins), an exquisite dish with a colorful presentation.
Another very refined dish I had the pleasure to try: filet de bar rôti, artichaut à la barigoule, petit pois, jus de coque safrané (sea bass filet with barigoule artichoke, peas, with cockle juice and saffron). Barigoule is a traditional Provençal dish of artichokes braised with the drippings (jus de cuisson) and white wine.
Les Tablettes is not his only restaurant. Nomicos is very proud to have been chosen by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) to run the Frank at the Louis Vuitton Foundation. Another concept, another challenge that he was ready to take on.
Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos also has La table du chef, The Chef’s Table, where you have the privilege to eat in the kitchen, in the middle of the action, and be served by the Chef himself! It’s a VIP treatment, but I’m sure if you mention INSPIRELLE or my name, you will be more than welcome!
Where: 16 Avenue Bugeaud, 75116 Paris
Telephone: +33 1 56 28 16 16