Lise Kvan and Eric Monteleon
Both Lise and Eric, our hosts to Provence, have cooked in various celebrated restaurants around the world and worked as cooking educators – but before settling in Provence to open their first restaurant – they packed up their lives in Paris to road trip around France for a year, learning about traditional farming and methods of production – they called the project ‘bon fond’ meaning ‘good stock.’
The decision was inspired by a thirst to know more about the produce they worked with every day in the kitchen, Lise explained to me: „We would receive products from extraordinary people. I knew they were extraordinary people – only someone extraordinary could make something like that ... I just wanted to know more about them and the entire process.“
Lise and Eric have brought the spirit of bon fond to everything they source for the restaurant, highlighting the best of Provence from local heroes – be it with the herbal syrups behind the bar, local bottles of rose, balsamic vinegar, to the free-range lamb that becomes a daube. It was clear we were headed to the market in very knowledgeable hands!
Always hungry, thirsty, and always restless for a change of scenery – this out-of-season-tomatoloather was only too happy to sun herself in Provence for the greater good of market produce. But since we’re about to get to know each other really well, let me jump out of the third person.
I’d never been to Provence before: I did know it was one of France’s most beautiful areas, full of woozy Impressionist sunsets and hilltop towns where I imagined everyone strolled around in linen, sporting woven baskets overflowing with baguettes, vine tomatoes, and hunks of cheese. Me being me, I also knew it as ‘the’ place for the most famed rosé – tinged with the barest hint of peach and glinting golden rays like bottled sunshine (incidentally, you can see me getting into the spirit of things right from the first frame). But playing out my French-country-living fantasies aside, I was most excited to get to know Provençal food better, I knew only the basics – the titular herbs of the region go without saying—but what did I learn after seeing the end-of-summer produce in full swing? Well, you’d better watch and see.