A Dinner Reservation in Paris, 18 Years Later
A hotel room in Paris. A reunion with friends. Bo Bech shares a moment in the life of a Danish chef abroad.
I took this picture of my friends, Nicolai Nørregaard (middle), Esben Holmboe Bang (left), and Esben’s wife, Kaja Rambæk Holmboe Bang (right), at Hôtel Costes in Paris on my birthday, March 31, 2017.
A few days before, while on a guy’s trip, Nicolai (chef of Kadeau in Copenhagen), Esben (chef of Maaemo in Oslo), and I were drinking Champagne when Esben told a story about wandering and dining around Paris 18 years before with Kaja. It was their first trip as a couple, when they had arrived at L’Ambroisie for their first three-star meal together—but they didn’t have a reservation and were turned away. They’d promised each other to go back, but all these years later, they still hadn’t been.
I said to Esben, “Oh my God. You have to fly Kaja in.” Two days later, she arrived in Paris, and we toasted with a glass of rosé at the hotel. Then I told them I had a surprise in my room. I had an amazing dish of poached veal brains in dashi delivered from Clown Bar. We went up to the room, and I plated the dish—room service with a twist.
Everyone broke down laughing. Ten minutes later, the four of us jumped in a cab to go eat at L’Ambroisie—with reservations this time. —As told to Hunter Lewis