Armand Arnal, Top Chef of the Chassagnette Restaurant in Arles

By Julie Rovero-Carrez | Published on May 31, 2017
  • Armand Arnal

    © Mialhe

    Armand Arnal

    © Mialhe

  • La Chassagnette à Arles - Jardin

    © Camille MOIRENC

    La Chassagnette à Arles - Jardin

    © Camille MOIRENC

Armand Arnal, Top Chef of the Chassagnette Restaurant in Arles Route du Sambuc 13200 Arles fr

My Story

I was born on November 20, 1977 in Montpellier, very close to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. 

Since childhood, I've been bathed in the universe of ingredients and cuisine. When I was little, I spent hours watching displays in the Saint Roch Market* where my grandparents worked. The taste of the fruit and vegetables, the smell of the fresh fish is still so clear in my mind. 

At home, we loved welcoming friends and family. It was my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother that cooked for everyone - I loved watching them move about in the kitchen!

I initially began my training in pâtisserie, but very quickly, I craved greater freedom. That's what probably brought me to New York. 

In 2006, my family had me come back to the South of France, to the Camargue, more precisely, where I fell in love with the Chassagnette at first sight. 

My days here have a precise rhythm: first, I work with the gardener in the vegetable garder, and then I design dishes with my cooks before demonstrating them to servers. I'm very lucky to be able to work with this garden, but my love of cooking has pushed me to want to work with other local - or even foreign - products. I'm especially fascinated by Japan! To gather myself, to inspire myself, I go to the Cévennes, in the Gorges de la Dourbie. I also enjoy going to the Marché d'Uzès, especially during truffle season! 

If I had to move elsewhere in France, it would probably be Corsica - it would be a priceless luxury to be able to see the sea whenever I wanted. 


*The Saint Roch Market is no longer open today. 

 

My DNA

What mark did chefs like Pierre Hermé and Alain Ducasse leave on you? A respect for the ingredient and the memory of flavor, as well as working with vegetables. 

3 essential vegetables from your garden? Fennel, Swiss chard, and tomatoes. 

An herb? Pineapple sage.

3 adjectives to describe your cooking? Harmonious, generous, and sincere.

The inspiration to find new flavors? Smell and taste the products.

At its busiest, your kitchen looks like what? A jazz concert.

Your dream client? Anyone who keeps on coming back!

A dish for families? Camargue rice and a vegetable sautée. 

A dish for friends? Homemade French fries with garlic.

A dish to bring back morale? Aïgo Boulido (Provençal soup with a garlic and sage base). 

A dish for a party? Dry sausage with olives. 

 

My Region, My Places

An ingredient that symbolizes your environment? Rice.
A smell? The sea.
A sound? The wind. 
Three adjectives? Pleasant, bright, spiritual. 
A traditional local dish that you'd like to revisit? Aïoli.
A product from your region that you miss the most when abroad? Camargue salt. 

A gourmet restaurant? Reserve Rimbaud
820 avenue St Maur, 34000 Montpellier
+33 4 67 72 52 53

A bistrot? Le Réfectoire des Ateliers
33 Avenue Victor Hugo – Chemin des Minimes, 13200 Arles
+33 4 90 47 11 67

Somewhere to grab a drink? L’Ouvre Boîte
22 rue du Cloître, 13200 Arles
+33 4 88 09 10 10

Somewhere to shop? Montpellier.

Somewhere to find culture? La Fondation Van Gogh
35 ter rue du Docteur Fanton, 13200 Arles
+33 4 90 93 08 08 

Somewhere to wander, dream, and relax? The Beauduc beach.

 

Your 5 gourmet addresses in France?

Thoumieux – Paris
79 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
+33 1 47 05 79 00

Le Lido – Propriano
42 Avenue Napoléon III, 20110 Propriano
+33 4 95 76 06 37

La Grenouillère – La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil
19 rue de la Grenouillère, 62170 La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil
+33 3 21 06 07 22

Les Bacchanales – Vence
247 Avenue de Provence, 06140 Vence
+33 4 93 24 19 19

Le Mas de l’Amarine – Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Ancienne Voie Aurelia, 13210 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
+33 4 90 94 47 82

 

Point of interest