…becomes crystal clear on an icy winter morning like today. I’ve been out in the dark before 8 o’clock to get some bread for breakfast. In Rue de Bretagne I passed by the shop of my favourite butchers who were already busy, cutting and chopping, handling huge chunks of meat. They work out in the cold here, you know, many shops aren’t closed with doors and windows, they just open their shutters and start working, let it be winter outside or spring. To the street scene of a city, this layout adds a lot of charme and some Mediterranean feeling. But it kills the people who have to fill that pretty stage at minus 5 °C for the next 12 hours or so.
The boss of my favourite butchers wears a thick blue bonnet now covering his curly hair. They’re all dressed in three or four layers of fleece jumpers under their aprons. You would imagine they were quite grumpy right now or lacking their natural politeness but it’s almost the opposite. When I passed by this morning, they were waving and all smiles and shouting: “Bonne journée, Monsieur!”. I guess, they feel like a band of brothers going through rough times together.
And then I’m sure that they’re taking pride in their everyday work. Here, in Rue de Bretagne they only accept the highest quality of beef, of pork, of lamb, of poultry. They get their animals from farmers in the Limousin region or from Normandie, from Pauillac or Lozère or Bresse and they treat every piece with respect. So you, as a client and cook, deeply feel an obligation to follow suit.