Former Top Chef nominee Lucie Berthier Gembara has just opened a second restaurant dedicated to hot dogs… Find out where this new nugget is!
Remember: in early 2022, Lucia Berthier Gembara integrated the season 13 of Top Chef, determined to prove what he was capable of. Challenge won for the young woman, who marked her spirits considerably with her dish “mommy’s chicken” presented during the event proposed by Alexandre Gauthier in his restaurant La Grenouillere.
But Lucie Berthier Gembara’s career obviously isn’t limited to her participation in Top Chef. This former disciple ofAlexander Mazzia in Marseilles he is above all in charge of catering Seppia in Nantes, where he offers upscale neo-bistro cuisine. Recently, the chef also opened pop, a new food trade specializing in hot dog. It is in this small restaurant, located a few meters from her main restaurant, that the 33-year-old chef offers six recipes of this American specialty, in homage to her stay in the United States in 2011. Gourmets can choose between a classic frankfurter with French veal and pig or a halal beef sausage, but also 4 different sauces. To sample Lucie Berthier Gembara’s hot dogs, go to pop, 7 rue Bon Secours in Nantes, from Tuesday to Saturday!
Her interview with the Journal des Femmes
The editorial staff of the Journal des Femmes therefore wanted to know more about it Lucia Berthier Gembaraits ambitions and the reasons for its participation in Top chefs. And you’ll see, the young girl sometimes reserves some surprises!
She didn’t always want to cook
Unlike many chefs, Lucie didn’t always want to work in the kitchen. “It has always fascinated me, but I didn’t think of making it my job… I was more interested in the plastic arts”, he explains. The click came later, when the young woman lived in San Diego, in the United States. “I was a communication-marketing student and I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing. Over there I cooked a lot for my flatmates and when I returned to France I told myself there was something to do. So I started a second course for students at the Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon.”
He has worked with two three-star chefs
Top Chef viewers know: When she was younger, Lucie officiated at Alexandre Mazzia’s AM restaurant in Marseille – which won its third star in the Michelin Guide in 2021. But that’s not all! When she lived in Marseille, the young chef also worked alongside Gérald Passédat, in her three-star restaurant Le Petit Nice.
She could have been a coach
After her adventure in Marseille, Lucie Berthier Gembara reoriented herself to become a trainer for restaurateurs. Her life finally pushed her towards other projects.
He is in charge of his Sepia restaurant in Nantes
After her stay in Marseille, Lucie Berthier Gembara gave birth to her son and did not work for two years. After this period, the young chef decides to return to the west of France and open her first restaurant, Sepia, in the heart of Nantes.
His cuisine is influenced by his time in Marseille
In her Sépia restaurant, Lucie offers market cuisine based on local products bought in short circuit. In her dish, the young chef has brought back traces of her life in Marseille with dishes with Mediterranean accents.
He didn’t hesitate for a second to participate in Top Chef
A year ago, Lucie received a message from the production of Top Chef on Instagram, asking if she would like to participate in the show’s casting. “At first I thought it was a joke, I didn’t believe it at all! When I realized it was true, I didn’t hesitate. I told myself I had to take this opportunity!”
He knows Sarah Mainguy well
Lucie knows another chef from Nantes, finalist of season 12 of Top Chef: Sarah Manguy. The latter also gave him many tips, in particular to better manage the “Top Chef” effect on reservations in his restaurant. “We have software that allows you to open reservations only for the current month. It prevents people from feeling frustrated about not being able to come and eat for several months,” Lucia explains.
His mamé chicken à la carte Seppia
A few weeks ago, Lucie stood out particularly during the test around Alexandre Gauthier’s roast chicken, so much so that the chef will be offering his dish, Puolet de Mamé, on the menu of his restaurant Sepia from this week. “We’re changing the formulas to let creativity run wild, and this dish will fit perfectly into the Omakase menu.”
Glenn Viel helped her go wild
The Top Chef competition helped Lucie gain self-confidence and take charge of her own cooking. His Brigade Chief Glenn Viel is no stranger to this letting go. “He is a very benevolent person, he gave me confidence in many things and above all he repeated to me that I had the right to be who I was”.
He shares a tattoo with the other candidates
As another candidate, Tania Caddedu, told us, most of the candidates for season 13 of Top Chef have a tattoo in common. This is the case of Lucie who, like many others, agreed to have the word “Treize” tattooed by her friend Louise. “It started with a great delirium! It’s a madness that represents our adventure well, we were all very united”, assures Lucia.
She was relieved to talk to Alexandre Mazzia
If the arrival on the set of great guest chefs impressed Lucie, the young woman was above all hoping to see Alexandre Mazzia again. The latter had offered her a job in her restaurant, which the young chef had refused, before leaving for the night without giving explanations. A youthful mistake for which she Lucie wanted to apologize, which she was able to do when the three-star chef arrived. “It did me a lot of good, I was very pleased to see it again. It was something I had been carrying with me for a long time and verbalizing it set me free.”
He loves coriander
Lucie’s nice sin? Coriander! “I love eating it simply with bread and butter… You have to try it, it’s great for breakfast or as an aperitif”, she supports us. “I get them every week from my supermarket gardener who delivers huge bunches to me”, she rejoices.
He will watch the show with the other candidates
On Wednesday nights, Lucie doesn’t have time to watch Top Chef. But she intends to make up for it during a meeting with the other candidates. “We would like to watch it all together once the broadcast is over”tell us.
Find Lucie Berthier Gembara every Wednesday evening in Top Chef, but also in her restaurant Sepia, at 1 quai de Turenne in Nantes.
What is Lucie Berthier Gembara’s background?
Unlike many chefs, Lucie Berthier Gembara, 32, started her apprenticeship relatively late. It was after a master’s degree in international trade while she was living in the United States that the click occurred. “I used to work in marketing as a project manager, but I didn’t really like it“. Her roommates really appreciate her cooking, and she decides to follow her deep desire… “I took the opportunity to go back to my studies to start”. Change of course, therefore, and direction Lyon where he joined the Paul Bocuse Institute. His early experience in the kitchen was difficult, in a brigade where he suffered from sexism, even harassment. “I took a lot on myself. I knew these internships would only last for a while.”
He continued his career with Gérald Passédat in Le Petit Nice (three stars), then with Alexandre Mazzia in Marseille (also three stars), whom he describes as a spiritual father. But Lucie is perhaps still too immature and when the Chef offers her to take on her responsibilities in her restaurant, she panics and leaves. Today she regrets it and she dreams of being able to show him that she has changed. In the meantime she returned to Nantes, close to her family, had a son and opened her restaurant, Sepia, in July 2019. Today, with her partner Martin, a greengrocer, she would like to offer farm catering and develop a cannery to recover the leftovers of its production. She also dreams of expanding her brigade. This edition of Top Chef could give him a new opportunity for growth…
Where are the restaurants of Lucie Berthier Gembara?
The Sepia is located in Nantes, in the Bouffay district. Her name comes from a childhood memory of hers: as a child, Lucie spent the summer holidays with her grandfather, a restaurateur, fishing for cuttlefish in the Arcachon basin. Together, while preparing the cuttlefish, they kept the bag containing the ink – the cuttlefish – to color the rice and pasta. In December 2022, the chef opens a new address, Popy, where she offers six organic and local hot dog recipes.
What is your type of cuisine?
Engaged, Lucie advocates a reasoned cuisine. She gets her supplies of her in her restaurant only from local market horticulturists and tends to zero waste. On her menu, precise and delicate dishes, with a predominance of plants, which she adores, but also marine notes and Mediterranean influences, the fruit of her Marseillaise past. “Spices, tracers of Provençal and Levantine cuisine in general, are the DNA of my dishes”. In Top Chef, she won’t hesitate to state his prejudices: “What I want is to crash into bosses“.
On her @lucieberthiergembara account, Lucie likes to highlight the beautiful products she works with and says hi to her makers (special thanks to her hens, Opot and Nugget). She mainly posts images of her very graphic dishes, obviously in ceramic tableware made by local artisans. During the birth, her restaurant remained active with take-out formulas, and she cooked to delight the carers. Even in cardboard trays, we validate!