L’Aventure turns 40: Owner of St John’s Wood restaurant on love, Brexit and the culinary revolution

Catherine Parisot, owner of St John�'s Wood restaurant L�Aventure. Picture: Roy Chacko

Catherine Parisot, owner of St John�'s Wood restaurant L�Aventure. Picture: Roy Chacko - Credit: Roy Chacko

Catherine Parisot, owner of St John’s Wood restaurant L’Aventure, came to England from Paris in 1974 on holiday while preparing for exams – and never went back.

She was 20, fell in love with an Englishman and couldn't get herself to leave.

Catherine wasn't the only one. Some of the people in her Blenheim Terrace restaurant, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in September, have been coming back there for decades.

Catherine said: "Some of my customers have been with me since the very beginning and we've aged together gracefully."

Over the years Catherine has seen a shift in the dining habits of her British customers.

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She said: "When we first opened people were interested in the classics only. They wanted a basic one meat and two veg plate but now people are looking for much more. It's wonderful to be part of the culinary revolution in this country."

Catherine gets the restaurant's fresh veg from the market while all her fish comes from Cornwall.

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When Catherine moved to London 45 years ago, she started working as a washer and made her way up to head chef before opening L'Aventure. It's still going strong - though competition is stiff. "Now the British have discovered they can be chefs," she said, "everyone wants to open a restaurant."

She admits the prospect of Brexit makes her "very sad", and hopes she'll be at the restaurant for at least five more years -to see L'Aventure's 50th anniversary.

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