At the heart of Avignon’s covered market – Introducing the chef Jonathan CHIRI
L’Afterwork Rasteau “Special Easter Menu”of 27 March 2018 (Maison Des Vins d’Avignon) put the terroir of Rasteau back in the spotlight! And, for the occasion, we called in two professionals… from California!
The wines of the appellation were chosen by our sommelier Kelly McAuliffe to perfectly accompany the Easter menu concocted by the chef Jonathan CHIRI.
And this is our chance to tell you more about this dynamic chef, a loyal fan of A.O.C. Rasteau wines, who today works at the heart of the ‘Halles d’Avignon’ covered market
His career began in the 1990s in California. After several jobs in America, he came to Europe and finally chose to establish himself in France, Avignon to be precise, where he worked as Chef de Partie and Assistant Pastry Chef for 4 years at ‘La Mirande’, a restaurant which has been awarded 1 star by the Michelin Guide.
At the same time he joined the restaurant’s cooking school called ‘Le Marmiton’, where he now teaches classes himself. In 2006, he took charge of the kitchens at the ‘Château de Massillan’ in Uchaux, a prestigious address not far from Avignon. Between 2010 and 2012, he was in charge of the kitchens at ‘La Verrière’, a highly reputed wine estate and hotel at the heart of the Dentelles de Montmirail Mountains. This new experience taught him a great deal about French wine and gastronomy. Today, he is more active than ever, combining his love of cooking, wine, travels… and cycling! He has even set up a personalised catering offer called Gourmet Cycling Travel » which proposes touristic and gastronomic circuits by bicycle.
A.O.C Rasteau : You have worked in the kitchens of various prestigious restaurants around the world… Why did you finally decide to live in Provence?
Jonathan CHIRI : “It was actually a pure twist of fate… After my training and internships, I went to work in Berlin, and then in Barcelona.
While I was on the train on the way back from Barcelona – and preparing to return to the United States – I got a call from a friend who was then Sommelier at ‘La Mirande’. After speaking to him, I got off at Avignon train station… and I have never really left since! (laughs)”
A.O.C Rasteau :You have just started working at ‘Cuisine Centr’Halles’ in the covered market. How do you come up with your menus? How would you describe your cuisine for those who have not yet had the chance to taste it?
Jonathan C. : “I think it comes from a mixture of my culinary experiences around the world and on-the-spot inspiration…
The menus change every day and I work with seasonal products as much as possible. Above all I would describe it as Mediterranean cuisine with a sprinkling of Provence here and there.
We like quite hot and spicy food in the United States, which I would say is a much lesser part of French cuisine. And I have happily adapted to that by using spices with great care and precision.”
A.O.C Rasteau : How do you choose your suppliers?
Jonathan C. : “My professional experiences with Michelin-starred Chefs such as Christian Etienne and Robert Brunel taught me a lot. Over the years I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of interesting people. And that’s how I have gradually been able to build up a network of quality producers who I know I can trust.”
A.O.C Rasteau : Tell us about your memory of the first wine you tasted?
Jonathan C. : “In Santa Barbara, I remember meeting Steve Clifton, a winemaker who showed me around his estate and invited me to taste his wines, which I instantly loved!”
A.O.C Rasteau : What do you particularly like about Rasteau wines?
Jonathan C. : “I would say that they are one of a kind! In the United States, not many people have heard of Vin Doux Naturel and I had never tasted a liqueur wine before those from Rasteau. I still remember my first taste of VDN Rasteau, it was in 2002 with André Roméro from the ‘Domaine de la Soumade’.
The other A.O.C. Rasteau reds have a real typicity and you can really taste the qualities of the terroir. I really like their character!”
A.O.C Rasteau :What can we wish you for the year ahead?
Jonathan C. : “To be able to establish myself with my family in France for good!”
Happy Easter everyone! !
Mix together the dishes prepared with care, a sprinkling of energy and a zest of California and you get an address to remember next time you visit the ‘Halles d’Avignon’ covered market.
We wish him all the best for the future and much success in all his culinary adventures!
La Cuisine Centr’Halles
Du lundi au vendredi : 11h30 à 13h30
Samedi et dimanche : 11h30 à 14h
18 Place Pie 84000 AVIGNON
Pour les plus curieux, sachez que le Chef Jonathan Chiri propose également des « Cooking Classes », un service de Chef à domicile ainsi que des circuits « gourmets » à vélo…
+ d’info : www.jonathanchiri.com