My experience at le Quinzième restaurant in Paris was as fun and full of excitement as its famous (and oh, so handsome!) celebrity chef, Cyril Lignac. While all of his staff was as fastidious as they were talented, there was an underlying sense of playfulness that extended to everything they touched.

From the hand-whipped potatoes to the decadent desserts, each crucial member of this world-class team was truly enjoying the evening. I stood with a smile on my face for most of the night watching in awe at the passion that played out before me.

chef-cyril-lignac-cherylstyle-cheryl-najafi-audea friend forever

Aude, the executive chef in charge of the restaurant, greeted me cheerfully at 6:00pm. Thus, she whisked me straight into the kitchen and introduced me to the staff. She spoke wonderful English (thank goodness – I left my Rosetta Stone at home!) and generously gave me a play-by-play throughout the night of everything that was happening in the restaurant. Not everyone spoke as much English as she, but the nonverbal behavior told it all.

Her team adored her. They truly respected her. And they all loved their jobs. It is customary for Chef to call out an order and the team answer with a “Qui (yes) Chef” indicating they heard her.

At one point in the evening, the pastry chefs could not hear her call due to an electric mixer running in the background, thus she had to repeat the call a couple of times. Instead of getting irritated, she simply got their attention and tapped on her ear to indicate they needed to listen – I’m definitely implementing this tactic with my kids! The young men respectfully fell into line, with soft smiles on their faces. I could feel their respect and passion.

Chef is in the building

chef-cyril-lignac-cherylstyle-cheryl-najafi-cookIt is no surprise that when Chef Lignac walked into his restaurant after filming an episode of the French “Top Chef” that his entire team lit up. This easy-going, playful man is a far cry from the rigid persona of a traditional, stuffy French chef. Um, hello, remember Chef Louis from The Little Mermaid? Yikes! He walked around the kitchen inspecting, tasting and teasing.

The environment was the perfect blend of rigor and lightheartedness. Although his standards were impeccable, his charm and personality created a warm environment for each to flourish. I can honestly say I want to pattern my behavior as a leader at Everyday Dishes & DIY like Chef Lignac. He truly deserves such love and respect.

it’s all in the presentation!

chef-cyril-lignac-cherylstyle-cheryl-najafi-The best part of the night was getting to taste all of his decadent recipes. And as many of you know, I often argue, “It is all about the presentation.”

Well, I’m not joking when I say; the presentation of this amazing food was a feast for both the pallet and the eyes.

To the right is an image of his famous lobster gnocchi. It was as beautiful as it was flavorful.

chef-cyril-lignac-cherylstyle-cheryl-najafi-The dessert on the left reminded me of a classic Key lime pie. But wow! Look at how amazing this looks. With a piping bag and a little creativity, a version of this dessert is easy to pull off. I think I might have to give this a go.

Stay tuned as I work through the details.

handmade crouton

Another awesome presentation idea was this clever crouton for the salad.

Since everything on the menu was handmade and the only appliances I saw were a large pasty mixer, hand mixer and C02 charger, it makes perfect sense that they had a three-step process for their salad croutons. But, it really wasn’t that difficult.


They start with thin slice of bread and brush on butter, roll it around a metal ring, wrap in aluminum foil and bake. Not bad, right—if you could figure out the metal ring? Well, it is a far cry from my throwing a buttered piece of bread into the oven and breaking it into pieces to top my salads!

If you like this chef and want to see more there’s a good chance he will be moving to New York.

So ladies, keep your fingers crossed, this stud muffin is thinking of opening a bakery on the Upper East Side. I can’t wait to cook with Chef Cyril Lignac in the US! Bon appétit!

Live the moment,