Matthias & Mailea
From Paris to LA:
interview with the Echo duo
From 1 September to 17 October, Matthias and Mailea, the winning duo at the restaurant Echo, introduce you to the best of Californian cuisine. From Paris to LA, discover the history of this unique concept that celebrates Californian food* with pizzazz and creativity.
Their avocado toasts*, green sandwiches and coconut creams are essential discoveries when you visit their pop-up restaurant located in the wellness area (1st floor) of the Bon Marché Rive Gauche.
How was Echo, your restaurant showcasing Californian cuisine, created?
Mailea : After starting out in fashion, I became interested in cuisine around the age of 30 following a trip to Europe. When I returned to the United States, I decided to quit everything and start at a culinary school. I then met Matthias, a disciple of the LA restaurant Gjusta, where I took my classes.
Matthias : During my studies, I went back to the United States several times. I fell in love with LA, where I lived for a year.
Ever since, I go back every year. Over time, I realised that the Californian culinary scene had changed a lot. I wanted to start a concept in Paris that was inspired by it. That's how Echo came to be.
How can we define your concept?
Matthias : We offer a 100% neo-Californian menu. It is an interpretation of a traditional deli that serves not only healthy, but generous and appetising food. We change our menu regularly with each new season, but always keep our most iconic dishes, of course.
Mailea : Echo stands out for its informality, its welcoming vibe, and its open kitchen. There is no particular style or influence in the cuisine that we offer. I can thus mix up genres and flavours, which allows me to be free when it comes to my cuisine. I love that!
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Mailea : It’s a real melting pot! My first culinary experiences influenced me enormously. For example, I learned the basics of Japanese cuisine alongside an amazing chef. That inspires me a lot when creating a dish.
I also tend to prioritise cuisines which highlight vegetables. So we try to respect the product as much as possible, reworking it wherever possible and respecting its seasonality.
I have retained many techniques and habits from my time as a chef in LA. I can’t go without lemon juice, garlic or salt; these are to be found in all my recipes! I also like Mediterranean and Korean cuisine… We especially like to mix influences at Echo!
Tell us about Californian cuisine. What are the essentials of LA that can be discovered in your pop-up restaurant at Bon Marché Rive Gauche?
Mailea : Definitely the avocado toasts! We have even developed our own recipe.
In LA, we often start the day with a savoury breakfast, with a salami sandwich or eggs on bread, for example. For lunch, we go for a vegetarian dish, like our fennel salad or green cabbage and sesame salad.
Sweet things are not as important as they are in France, but we still love banana bread or a chocolate cookie. We are also fond of healthier dishes, like cereal bars or vegan puddings.
At night, Californians like to share savoury snacks like a pizza, served with some vegetables as an accompaniment. It’s a really sociable way of eating!
What does the event Los Angeles at Bon Marché Rive Gauche and La Grande Épicerie de Paris represent for you?
Mailea : We are thrilled to be a part of it and to contribute to the growing popularity of Californian cuisine! This collaboration is even more significant since we share strong values with Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche and La Grande Épicerie de Paris. We carefully select the products that we cook. We also pay lots of attention to arranging our dishes so that they are as attractive as possible.
Matthias : La Grande Épicerie de Paris is one of the most important places on the Paris culinary scene. It is the place par excellence where we can find everything! We always have this rush of excitement when we step inside!
Visit the pop-up restaurant Echo in the wellness area at Bon Marché Rive Gauche, from 1 September to 17 October. While you wait, check out their menu or their exclusive avocado-matcha pudding recipe!