For twenty years, Chef Didier Durand has brought delicious French cuisine to Chicago through his restaurant Cyranos Farm Kitchen, which just recently closed.
In 1986, Chef Didier arrived in Chicago and worked at many of the area’s finest French restaurants until opening his own in 1996. The restaurant was named after the celebrated Frenchman Cyrano de Bergerac, the legendary dramatist, poet and duelist from Bergerac, Chef Didier’s birthplace.
The good news is that his seasonal cafe, Cyranos Cafe and Wine Bar on the River Walk will remain open from May – October.
Chef Didier’s life saying is “Good food makes people happy.” On this special kitchen chat, Chef Didier shares how he has cooked up happiness throughout the years. “French cooking can be fun,” Chef Didier says. He greatly admired Julia Child and shares how she truly made cooking fun, especially when she dropped the chicken. He emphasizes that it’s important to focus on discussions and the meal at the table instead of distractions, “even if it means turning off the Cubs game on television.” Chef Didier insists that French cuisine doesn’t necessarily equate to heavy and expensive. “It can also include lighter fare,” Chef Didier explains, “Instead of using the traditional veal marrow as the basis of a sauce, one can use a puree of vegetables.” Chef Didier stresses the importance of fresh produce and planning your meals. “In France, everyone is always thinking about the next meal.”
Chef Didier also discusses his deep admiration for Chef Charlie Trotter and the culinary impact that this wonderful chef has left on the culinary scene in Chicago. To honor Chef Trotter, he is raising money to build a sculpture/bust of Chef Charlie Trotter which will be placed on Michigan Avenue as a tribute to his life and legacy. If you wish to get involved in this project, click here for additional information. Also, here is a link to the Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation.
On November 8, Chicago Gourmets will host a special dinner featuring a menu by Chef Didier paired with sparkling wine from Mawby Wines in Michigan. Earlier this summer, I had a kitchen chat with Larry Mawby. Please check the Chicago Gourmets website for more details.
Savor the day!.