The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

In the Kitchen with Chef Jean Francois Meteigner

In the Kitchen with Chef Jean Francois Meteigner

In the Kitchen

April 24, 2011

Jean Francois Meteigner is the chef/owner of La Cachette Bistro in Santa Monica, a California staple that has become a bastion of modern French cooking. Jean Francois has worked tirelessly to change the concept of heavy French cooking, using light and delicious ingredients and cooking with little or no cream or butter. With a culinary career spanning decades since his humble beginnings as an apprentice at the world-famous Troigros in Roanne at the age of 15, Jean Francois is a master of his craft. We talked to him about the importance of Farmer’s Markets, fresh ingredients and, of course, providing your patrons with healthy food that tastes great.

What is the main focus of your cooking?

The main focus of my cooking is my clientele – giving them something they will really enjoy, something new and delicious. I focus on combining international ingredients, cooking healthy with no heavy sauces, cream or butter, and these days, mostly Gluten free.

Is there a particular nutritional focus of your menus?

Focus on my menus is Light & Delicious – all fresh ingredients and a lot of organic ingredients.
 
What is your relationship with local farmers?

I am at the Farmer's Market every Wednesday and know all the farmers so I always know what I am buying is fresh. It is then fun to create menus around what is available.

Are you incorporating locally grown foods into your dishes? How?

Locally grown foods are what I buy at the Farmer's Market as well as from purveyors who handle local items.
 
What are the major concerns today of your patrons when it comes to dining out? And how are you addressing them?

My clients are concerned about eating well and healthy. I get a lot of requests for Gluten free. I can make any dish Gluten free and always try to give them what they want in terms of the health quality of the food, which is pretty healthy to begin with!

Clients want their food to not only taste delicious but they also want it to be well priced, especially in this economy. We do things like our $19 prix fixe lunch and after 9pm weekdays the menu is 30% off.
  
What steps does your restaurant take toward conservation?

Recycling. We have to go cups and containers that are recycled and a water filtering device that we use for everything including the dishwasher. 

How important is sustainability?

Regarding sustainability, we use organically farmed fish and meat.
 
How important is traceability?

Traceability is extremely important. That is why I only buy from purveyors and farmers that I have known for many years. I know they deliver the best and the freshest and I know where it comes from and how it is raised. There are no surprises there.