Julien Dumas has headed the kitchens of Lucas Carton, a Paris institution steeped in the legacy of an extraordinary chef, Alain Senderens. Dumas, a Grenoble native, has managed to create a personal style of cuisine, with local ingredients, to leave his own mark on the French culinary landscape.
“I can’t use langoustines from Scotland when we have a fish auction dedicated to langoustines in Guilvinec!” In 2008, while at the helm at Rech, the Ducasse group’s fish restaurant in Paris, Julien Dumas came to realize that he needed to change the way he purchased his ingredients. It was not an easy task, as customers were then confused by the size of the smaller French crustaceans. But he modified his recipes accordingly and the quality of his dishes convinced even the most skeptical consumer. This chef – trained by Jean-François Piège and Jacques Maximin – believes in responsible, sustainable, seasonal fishing, catches brought in by small boats that leave port in the morning and return at nightfall. And he has fallen in love with Brittany, his second homeland.
Upon his arrival at Place de la Madeleine, he doubled down on this commitment. “I wanted to dive into the realm of local, around Paris,” he explains. “It’s a world that’s developing slowly but it gets bigger every day.” After discovering the Marché de l’Alma and Joël Thiébault’s vegetables, he has consistently found suppliers in the Île-de-France area. Gradually, by talking with his chef peers and using social networks as monitoring tools, he has woven his own network that now lets him be an active thread in the healthy economic fabric of the French capital and its suburbs. Recently, for example, he has started buying permaculture vegetables grown on the last urban farm in Saint-Denis, partly taken over by an artistic collective known as Le Parti Poétique. The farm is called “Zone Sensible” – the Sensitive Area. For Julien Dumas, a sensitive and tuned-in chef, the nomenclature is apt indeed.