A fancy restaurant on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower may not be the obvious setting for environmental activism, but Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx wants to make it a showcase for climate-friendly cuisine.
Offering seasonal and local ingredients, cooked with minimal use of energy, his “Madame Brasserie” restaurant gives diners a spectacular view over Paris and an inkling of how the restaurant industry can dress a greener table.
Putting the finishing touches on a starter of leeks as his team gets ready for the evening service, Marx said his menu is designed to minimise the restaurant’s carbon footprint.
“These leeks, in season now, were grown less than 50 km from here. We cook them in their own juices and we dress them with shoots of herbs grown in an organic garden within the Paris ring-road and delivered by bicycle,” he said.
“It is simple, has a limited carbon impact, it is easy to eat and economical — we do our job with minimal environmental impact,” he added.
Marx — who won his first Michelin star in 1998, runs several restaurants and is a national celebrity due to his participation in TV cooking shows — said that from its opening in June, the entire restaurant had been designed to save water and energy.
Twenty years ago, a restaurant such as this would have been blazing hot ahead of the evening service, with all the hobs and ovens on, he said.
Now, his crew cooks on induction cookers with copper casseroles, which only heat the pan itself without warming up the entire kitchen.
“We are in the middle of an energy crisis and an environmental crisis, we cannot assume that this does not concern us because we run a restaurant. Awareness of all this has at times come a little late in this profession, but today there are a very few restaurant or hotel owners who don’t want to make this transition,” he said.