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Anaïs et Thomas Hardy, Vincent Thomy, Jean-Luc Rallu et Estelle Passelande​​

La Chapelle-Glain (44)​​

En s’appuyant sur un modèle vertueux de polyculture, la Ferme du Moulin regroupe 5 associés et compte environ 120 ha de terres entièrement cultivées en agriculture biologique et une grande diversité de production : élevage d’agneaux solognots (race en voie de conservation) et de vaches jersiaises, produits laitiers de brebis, porcs en plein air de race Longué bayeux, pain au levain issu du blé de la ferme (variétés anciennes et panifiables) et la culture de myrtilles.
Leur production est vendue en direct, sur les marchés de Nantes et d’Angers, dans les magasins de producteurs et à travers les AMAPS.

Last night my wife and I had our first “serious” discussion about the impending reality of setting up a restaurant in 3 years time. We lay have been talking about this “project” for approx. 2 years, but seemingly it wasn’t serious in my wife’s mind until only a few weeks ago. She clearly has been worrying about the impact that setting up a restaurant will have on the family and the couple – which is perfectly understandable. It was at times quite a heated and passionate discussion (as is often the case with the 2 of us !), but I always appreciate the way that we are able to get things out in the open and discuss them fully. We’ve only scratched the surface of this discussion….but this is a topic which will evolve over the next few months, with our views maturing as time goes by and as our experience accumulates.

Creating a restaurant is a very complicated and time consuming affair, after all that I’ve read and heared (when talking with other restaurant owners). Of course, my wife has her own job as well, which takes up already a lot of her time. She is currently thinking about what direction she wants to take her career in, and so, at the moment, we are both lacking somewhat in stability. Given that we are both between 38 and 41 years old, one could say that we find ourselves at the famous “mid-life” crisis crossroads. I don’t think that it’s exactly that for us – I’ve been thinking about this restaurant and cuisine for a number of years. But it’s true that late 30’s and early 40’s are upon us and it does make you think a bit more seriously about “just what do I want to do with my life ?“….kind of thing…..I suppose that that qualifies as mid-life crisis territory !

Anyway, the upshot of the chat last night was that

  • my wife has finally understood that I’m serious
  • I said that I’d ideally like to spend a couple of months working in London, after having already spent 2 months working at Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle
  • my concept for the restaurant remains pretty firmly anchored in British-French fusion, a place where a kind of cultural exchange can occur with radio playing (BBC Radio 4, France Inter, FIP, Five-Live, etc….), music (essentially British, quand même !?! ), newspapers and books in the café-bar-shop area, and good quality, local/best of British food being served in the classy restaurant with an open kitchen linking all of this…well, this was my concept many months ago (when I sent a text to Antonella from a golf weekend in Cambridge back in Oct 2006 to let her know the name of the restaurant) and it still the only one that excites me
  • I read an article in the FT (14/11/07 “Chefs have a recipie for fame and fortune”) which is one of the few items in the press which presents the restaurant / kitchen trade as being a good opportunity (instead of focusing on the many difficult aspects). If you fancy having a look, click on the file below.

    Chefs have a recipe for fame and fortune

    Cheers, Dom

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