Strassen’s cook with a double M
The Route d’Arlon is long. The competition is fierce, says Jérémmy Parjouet. No less than eighty gastronomic establishments of all kinds vie for customers on this road – from the takeaway to the culinary elite. Parjouet is well aware of this: He has been the chef of the ‘Lion d’Or’, situated at 201, Route d’Arlon in Strassen, since the beginning of 2015. ‘I wanted to return into the city because of my family,’ he says, ‘and I wanted to work on my own account. Here, everything is much more central.’ Before moving to Strassen, he had cooked in the ‘Becher Gare’. There, in 2013, he managed to get a Michelin star, the first for the restaurant and the leap into the top group of Luxembourgish gastronomy.
In Strassen’s ‘Lion d’Or’ he offers two different experiences. One the one hand you have the brasserie with about thirty seats, on the other the smaller gastronomic restaurant, with space for a maximum of twenty guests. ‘Both are important,’ says Parjouet. The brasserie with a somewhat more traditional and simpler menu plays an especially important commercial role for the place. The classier restaurant is aimed particularly at business people, with prices for the menu ranging between 36 euros (three courses for lunch), 72 euros (five courses), and 90 euros (seven courses). ‘The dishes for both places are sometimes very similar. After all, it’s the same kitchen,’ says Parjouet.
That he would one day become a chef was always clear for little Jérémmy – who owes the spelling of his first name to his father’s convivial bet with a friend. His father owned his own restaurant for many years; his uncle was a pastry chef with the navy, his other uncle a cook. ‘From the age of two I was always in my grandmother’s kitchen,’ he remembers. ‘I never wanted to do anything else. I always wanted to work in a kitchen.’ After school he left his parents’ house in Troyes in the Champagne region and learned the trade in the college of hotel management in Saint-Quentin (Aisne).
“I never wanted to do anything else. I always wanted to work in a kitchen.”
‘I was well aware of the realities of working in a kitchen, but you are not prepared for that in college,’ says Parjouet, ‘and that’s really a shame. Young people do not know what to expect. They come here and say: that’s not what they told me at school.’ He himself knew at the end of his training ‘exactly what it was I didn’t want to do.’ And that is ‘canteens and that kind of thing. I respect that kind of work, but that was never my thing. I always wanted to cook great food with fresh ingredients and where everything is prepared in the kitchen itself. You need more time for that but then you’re also more satisfied.’
The brasserie serves fish and chips as well as vol-au-vent, tongue of veal, or even a leg of Castilian suckling lamb, or lobster. The latter is of course also served in the gastronomic restaurant. He himself has no preferences in the kitchen, the forty-year old maintains. ‘I cook everything. You have to be able to do everything.’ After all, he has only one helper in his kitchen: from Monday to Friday at lunchtime and in the evenings, and Saturday evenings. Is that even sustainable? For him no question: ‘I’m the chef,’ he says about his working hours. ‘It’s all a question of organisation and preparation.’ Not even weddings or other celebrations are a problem for him: ‘In those cases I get help in.’
Parjouet has now been in Luxembourg for twenty years. ‘I came for a season and stayed until today. I like it here, ‘he says. He has never regretted his decision for the Grand Duchy: ‘We are really happy to have left France.’ In his earlier years he worked in the starred ‘Les Crayères’ in Reims as well as in the local ‘Fin Gourmand’, and in ‘Ikki’. And now he stands in the kitchen of Strassen’s ‘Lion d’Or’. His wife Evelyne takes care of the service. In the evenings they get mostly guests from the neighbourhood. ‘We are becoming better known, things are moving forward,’ says Parjouet. ‘We have started to convince people.’
201, Route d’Arlon, L-8011 Strassen
Tel. (+352) 26 33 44 04