At the age of 38, Julien Dumas still belongs to the category of young leaders. Yet, it happened in 2014 to the head of Lucas Carton, the paris institution of the Madeleine, after a route already well filled. And if the shadow guardian of Alain Senderens, who worked in the kitchen for three decades is still present, especially in the memory of the old customers, his successor, traces its furrow over the years, with talent and sincerity. Not a chance if he recognizes himself in the engagements of Olivier Roellinger, vice-president of the Relais&Châteaux association, which is part of Lucas Carton. A way that is both humanistic and demanding to live its own business, adhering to values. Meeting with a passionate cook, well in its head and its plates.
LE FIGARO. – Soon to be a five-year term as head of the kitchens of Lucas Carton. What are the markers forts of your own kitchen?
Julien DUMAS. – products and short circuits. I put the human at the centre of our activities, whether it’s suppliers, cooks or customers. It is for this reason that I have been working with small producers like Emmanuel Marie for the coquilles Saint-Jacques, at Chausey. He is attentive to the seasonality and wants to preserve the ocean’s resources. When one has this type of concern, this is felt necessarily in the products. Then comes the cooking. Our job is to cook the ingredients, it is necessary to know how to adapt to each. It is as well as the saint-jacques, for example, it’s important not to rush. I like that they are taking their time, as the heat rises very slowly in order to get something quite soft, but well cooked. A “cooked-raw”, so to speak.
The room Majorelle in the gourmet restaurant. FRANCK PRIGNET/Le Figaro Magazine
Your two products fetishes are cauliflower and whiting. How your business has she reacted when you put on the map?
At the beginning, we didn’t sell a single cauliflower! But this choice of products was not of the “provoc” for my part, I do not do ever, I just thought that this could bring to the plate. A way to tell what I liked to eat when I was young.
What are your sources of inspiration to create new dishes?
This is very random, it can be a piece of music, of rock a little fort, a souvenir, a moment spent in the kitchen or in the garden of Saint-Denis (The “free Zone”, a vegetable garden permaculture, shared by four leading chefs and restaurateurs on local, editor’s NOTE). It is as well that I created, at the end of September, a dish made of tomatoes black skin of the vegetable, related to the cuttlefish, black garlic, Sherry vinegar reduces, which I added at the end of the mullet. A variation of black, this super well. And in this moment, I am working on a cooking of foie gras to the wax. It came to me one day where I tasted a radius of honey in my bee-keeper, I found that the wax that was in it looked a lot like the fat of the foie gras. So, by bringing the two colors, I imagined a cooking beeswax.
This will be a dish that could be called “Foie gras around the hive” because it will be made of honey beaten to the propolis, the natural antibiotic of bees, foie gras heated in a syrup of honey and then baked in the wax with, on top, a grating of royal jelly and pollen. It is of fatty livers that have been tempered in the honey to 30° so raw, on which we will pay the wax to 180°. As it is completely compact, there is no evaporation of the flavors and the foie gras will cook in its own moisture, which will make this dish very interesting.
are You advocating for the democratization of gastronomy in a prestigious address. Is this not more complicated than in a bar?
It is necessarily more difficult because of the name of Lucas Carton in existence since a century and a half, that the institution has the appearance of a club a little closed in where we dare not necessarily enter. But we also have a bistro on the first floor, The Market, with a menu of 45 euros, lunch, and dinner, which serves the same products, worked the same way but prepared differently. And we arrive on request to serve in an hour, or even 45 minutes.
“Since 2007, I am careful what I buy, for the sake of sustaining resources, but also by the financial obligation to be honest”
Since when have you joined the network Ethic Ocean and why?
I have always been a lover of the oceans. Since 2007, I am careful what I buy, for the sake of sustaining resources, but also by financial obligations, to be quite honest. When I was in Rech (the restaurant of Alain Ducasse specialized in the products of the sea, editor’s NOTE), I couldn’t allow myself to take all the time in the bar, turbot and sole. I was, therefore, mullet, plaice, and thus I was able to make me realize that there were a lot of species to be discovered in the ocean, absolutely amazing.
This is where I started to get interested in the way in which they were caught, seasonally, and from there also to overfishing. Therefore, since 2008, I pay attention. Ethic Ocean has the aim to preserve the seabed, even if it is very difficult to control the migratory species because it is very random. But I’ve seen up close the methods of fishing on the trawlers and this was not sexy. They take what they need and raise the water the rest, even if the fish are dead.
It is for this reason that we have to stop the big breakers of the sea, remit to the centre the handicraft trades of fishing, even if it is hyper hard. Other chefs Relais&Châteaux as Christopher Coutanceau in La Rochelle are very active also on the fishing power. It is all very well but what are all the methods and fishing quotas that are to be reviewed.
The Michelin guide will release its next list January 25, 2019. Do you get a new star?
I’d like to, that is for sure, after that, we’ll see. This would be positive for the institution because Lucas Carton is a table that has always existed in the gastronomy to the world, and the story would be beautiful. This would also represent the culmination of work carried out on the property so, yes, if one gives it to me, I take it!
Lucas Carton: 9, place de la Madeleine (Paris Viii). Tel.: 01 42 65 22 90. Open every day except Sunday and Monday at The Table, Lucas Carton (menus at € 89, 142 euros, or 192 euros, wines included, and 175 hadros). Open 7 days on 7 Market, 1st floor (menu at 45 euros).