Mallory Gabsi, Paris - Photo © Matthieu Salvaing
Mallory Gabsi, Paris - Photo © Matthieu Salvaing

For the opening of his first gourmet restaurant in Paris, the young Belgian chef Mallory Gabsi, a semifinalist of Top Chef 2020, wanted a relationship of empathy with the designer. The architect Arnaud Behzadi took his cue from Gabsi’s cuisine, made to be perceived first with the eyes, and then with the taste buds. Using construction materials in the same way a chef uses ingredient to build a dish.

At the entrance, a rough façade with a ‘broken’ texture in stone suggests the roughness of certain substances, in contrast with the smooth panels in polished wood and the mirrors inside. As one gradually enters the spaces, the parallels between consistency and materials, flavors and colors, aromas and moods become even more intense.

With precise, strategic choices, as in chromatic terms, Behzadi transcribes the freshness and delicate tartness of Mallory’s creations, underlining olfactory sensations. Saffron, for example, a spice that reminds him of his childhood in Iran, guided Behzadi in the selection of the velvet for the seating, delicately combined with touches of turquoise – Mallory’s favorite color – ‘tainted’ on various surfaces with accents of bronze powder, conveying a sense of oxidation.

Nothing is left to chance. On the tables, the Bernardaud dishes and Christofle flatware are combined with custom ceramic pieces by Lea Soumali, a rising talent, including evocative sauce boats and fruit plates. The finely honed atmosphere is open to sharing and socializing, in keeping with the chef’s approach, including a kitchen that opens to the dining room, encouraging constant dialogue with the guests.

Photo © Matthieu Salvaing