In the kitchen since 2020, the young chef, in love with the place, bought the business.
It is with the utmost discretion that one of Montpellier’s gourmet institutions has just changed hands at the start of the summer. Clément Gueudré, chef-cook, bought on July 8 the business of the restaurant Le Petit Jardin, run for ten years by Corinne Dollé.
Located in the medieval heart of Montpellier, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau not far from the Jardin des Plantes, the Petit Jardin is an exceptional place with its interior garden giving a glimpse of Saint-Pierre Cathedral and adorned with superb hackberries, palm trees, laurels and other bamboos. A timeless place with its green wrought iron chairs open since 1950 and frequented by lawyers, university professors and businessmen as well as tourists in summer.
If the sale was discreet, it is because Clément Guedré was in place as a salaried chef replacing Fabrice Amar since June 2020. “It was for sale without being for sale but Madame Dollé saw that I wanted to move forward and that I had fallen in love with the place”, explains the 32-year-old chef.
Octopus ravioli, sweetbreads, soufflé, Paris-Brest
Although born in Boulogne-sur-Mer, he grew up and completed all his studies in Languedoc: training at Saint-Chely d’Apcher in Lozère then at EMTH Sud Formation in Béziers before leaving to work in Lyon for a decade. “ I worked at the Villa Florentine with Davy Tissot then at the Hôtel Lyon Métropole. I then left for the Domaine le Lyon Vert of the Partouche group and then as executive chef of restaurants belonging to a Lyon entrepreneur”, continues the cook.
At the beginning of the decade, the young man tried to return to the South and found a small business in Pézenas. It was in March 2020, just before confinement! Change of course: having learned that the Petit Jardin was looking for a new chef, Clément Gueudré applied and took over the orders first as an employee, therefore, of this establishment which produces 35 covers for the bistronomic part and 90 covers for the gastronomic part each service.
If the young chef has not changed anything visible since his arrival, it is on the side of the regularity of the plate – which once was not always there – that we feel the evolution: “We worked a lot on the organization and motivation of the teams. We gave heart to the work, always with a kitchen of the product but accessible”. And with the classics that make up the establishment’s DNA, such as octopus and cuttlefish ravioli à la sétoise, veal sweetbreads with homemade mashed potatoes, roast cod fillet in a herb crust, soufflé or Paris- Brest.
For the time being, the new owner, surrounded by a team of around thirty people mainly in apprenticeship, prefers to provide his services before thinking of reforming. And has not increased the prices (37 € for the lunch formula, 44 € for the seasonal menu and 59 € for the “Petit Jardin” menu). All of this without distinction. “Especially since Le Petit Jardin is already ten times more important in terms of personnel than what I had to take over in Pézenas!”.