New totems healthy , a leaven of good health, the drinks in K – kombucha, kefir, kvass, kanji…- and the sauerkraut is “do it yourself” stack of the thousands of K (posts) on Instagram. But if this câlinothérapie of the microbiota (our intestinal flora is now elevated to the rank of second brain) agitates the foodistas and the Cité des sciences (until 4 August, Paris XIXe), the upper kitchen chef’s hat also fermentation. Beyond its elixirs stars and the proliferation of blogs in jars – tip of the iceberg -the chefs are rediscovering the virtues of this technique is old as the palaeolithic period.

the origin of this return to grace: “the opportunity to talk about the terroir and to boost the flavors” , ” says Yannick Alléno, the first in France to have réexploré the potential of this principle of Archimedes culinary. Principle that, for those including the SVT would be a little distant, is, most of the time and simply put, to plunge vegetables, seeds, fish, finally, almost any food, in a bath salt at room temperature during several days. And let work the bacteria, molds, yeasts, and co, which are naturally present. Result? This retains. But not that. We get something totally new. Aromas unexpected, textures, and a palette of taste, unpublished.

“When you ferment something, you improve all the dishes, you make the role of the bouncer : you prevent unwanted microbes from entering”

René Redzepi, chef of Noma in Copenhagen

Some gastrolabes even go as far as to speak of transmutation miraculous. “The turning point was a reflection of my friend and winemaker Michel Chapoutier: “only the fermented products, may express the terroir.” It challenged me”, says Yannick Alléno. When, stung to the quick, he immerses himself in the culture broth of the fermentation. And begins with Marie-Claire Frédéric, a historian of food and chief curator of this ancestral know-how, which has just opened Suri, a canteen, completely dedicated to fermented foods (108, rue Réaumur, Paris IIe).

His blog, “Neither raw nor cooked” is a reference. Together, they conduct testing. “It was amazing”, remembers the apprentice fermenter “we took the celery from different regions. Same preparation, same fermentation time, each in its jar has developed notes incredibly different, such as for a wine!” Of there is born a book in common: Terroirs. Reflections of a chef (ed Hachette). And since fermentation and extraction (cold reduction) to sign the plates of the three-star chef of the Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris Viii). This is his famous “lawyer stayed on the tree for 18 months in mille-feuille of celery, extract coconut chips chia,” which is the opening of its Best of (Ducasse Edition), just out of press.

In the community of enthusiasts fermentos, there is also the Noma in Copenhagen, and its charismatic leader René Redzepi. For the past ten years, the fermentation is his credo. And with the publication of his Handbook of fermentation at Noma (bachelor of Oak), it intends to initiate a movement of the bottom culinary. “I dream of a restaurant of the future where we would go to discover new flavours, but also for the well-being of the body and the mind” , ” he said. “When you ferment something, you improve all the dishes, you make the role of the bouncer: you prevent unwanted microbes to enter and pass those thanks to which the atmosphere will be more sparkling.”

The bread, the wine, the yeast

A view shared by Adeline Grattard, starred chef of the Yam Tcha (Paris Ier). The fermentation, it is coming via Asia. “In chinese cuisine fermented products are ubiquitous. I first discovered them in hong Kong. To me, they were immediately interested. Of course, for us Westerners it is impossible to eat a plain square of furu stinky (fermented soy beans) with a fondue of lamb as there. But, used in small touches, to make a veal sweetbread, marinated for example, where it becomes sexy.” In accordance with its dishes punctuated with seasonings and vegetables suris: the wine – ah, that would be Bacchus without the dives bacteria? – and tea, other black work of fermentation. For those who might want to enjoy the gastronomy of this head to imperial, it opened lai’Tcha a coffee catering (7, rue du jour in Paris Ier).

The bread of William, baker-miller of the Bristol in Paris. BENOIT LINERO

If the fermentation is part of the DNA of asian cuisine and viking, many chefs are rediscovering as its French charm. And Jerome Schilling, who has just won a star for the restaurant Lalique, Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, premier grand cru classé sauternes (Gironde), combines the wine with the bread.

Via the grape must as it brings in the making of this last, he gets notes of cabernet franc: blackcurrant, redcurrant, blackberry,… By immersing the vegetables in the sauternes brought to a boil with black tea, it leaves from fermenting in a barrel, it also creates mix-ins of its own. Thanks to the fermentation, this is the essence of the vineyards between her in the kitchen.

At le Bristol, Eric Frechon is, to him, went so far as to install a grinder in his kitchen to make the “living bread” with ancient wheat. No need to snake powder, loaves ferment at natural under the watchful eye of William, baker-miller of the palace. “Every morning I taste the leaven”, he explains, “as a function of humidity, temperature, I correct the shot” . Because, another specificity of the fermentation, it is a science that is intuitive, a co-creation between the work of bacteria and man. It has the “taste of the hand”, so say the Koreans. It is this which makes it the salt. And, no doubt, which appealed to the heads.


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