Chef Thomas Graham, currently at Le Mermoz restaurant in Paris, is invited next weekend, noon & evening on May 29 and 30, for a 4-handed pop up with Léa Etchegoyhen, resident chef for summer in Providence. He is answering our questions.

Where do you come from ? Where are you now ?

“I was born in England in a village called Farnborough not far from London but when I was 5 we moved to Los Angeles and I grew up there. While I was in high school I got interested in cooking and when I finished school I came to Paris to do Le Cordon Bleu school. I fell in love with French cuisine and have stayed in France ever since. Currently, I am a Chef at Le Mermoz restaurant in the 8th district of Paris.

How did you become a chef?

I followed Amélie Darvas (I was her sous-chef for several years) in the south of France for the opening of Äponem in 2018. The goal was to be closer to nature and to work without an intermediary between us and most of the products. We did well and in 2019 (six months after the opening) we won a Michelin star. It was the fulfillment of our longest dream. But even though I was very happy, I felt my time with her was over and I left to go back to Paris. I was looking for a job in the kitchen and the owner of Mermoz contacted me by chance. We got along really well and I took the job soon after. Here is the beautiful story 🙂

A signature dish? A specialty?

That’s a tough question! I am sending you some pictures of the dishes we made during my first few months at Mermoz, but to answer the question, I like both fresh and fermented products. I went to do an internship at Noma in Copenhagen in 2017 where I learned a lot about fermentation and how to use the products as misos / garums etc. We do a lot at Mermoz and I love the little touches it can bring to fresh produce! Here are some recipes that our customers really liked: Beet gnocchi, pumpkin seed praline, goat milk yogurt / White tuna carpaccio, roasted miso oil, button mushrooms / Red berry vacherin, Greek yogurt, flowers verbena.

How did Providence appear on your radar?

It’s all thanks to Léa: she’s been talking about you for a long time now!

What is important to you in the kitchen?

I really like simplicity, when there aren’t many elements on a plate and you can see what’s going on. When the products are of good quality, it’s nice to show them off as such. I like to know when I eat in a restaurant that the products come not far away and that they have been produced with respect for the environment and the people who make it their business.”

Can’t wait to taste the wonders of Léa & Thomas!

RDV Saturday May 29th & Sunday May 30th, noon & evening (kitchen open from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.). On-site service on the terrace if the weather permits, or to take away.