Bernard and his family runs the organic produce stand – he is always ready with a big smile for everyone.

I’ve posted many times about my little Place Monge farmers market and the beautiful produce, artisanal cheeses and saucisson, farm fresh eggs straight from the nest and luscious foie gras but I’ve never introduced the farmers and cast of characters behind the tables who bring us all these delicacies every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Today I toured Place Monge with a camera crew who is making a video of the various arrondisements of Paris and introduced some of the more gregarious personalities that make life around Place Monge so fun.

Usually I’m the one behind the camera….

Jean-Marc runs the bakery while his brother pastry chef Pascal Pinaud is in the back creating the the most delicious chocolates, pastries and breads. Pascal was the pastry sous-chef for twelve years at The Ritz Hotel, and a pastry instructor at the Cordon Blue before opening his own patisserie three years ago. He makes everything by hand with the best ingredients he can find. Anthony Bourdain made a stop here the last time he was with the Discovery Channel in Paris.

Philippe, a former hi-tech exec, traded his cutting board to travel through the Jura region of the Alps in search of artisanal cheeses and saucission. He also ironically attended San Francisco State for his masters in business.

This mosaic of olives is courtesy of Mohammed and his company “Dried M” .

Momo, as he is affectionately known, is from Algeria, North Africa, and sells these delicious olives, dried fruits and nuts.

Madame Leitao and her family came from Portugal over twenty-five years ago and now run a stand of cheese wheels of every size, deep cannisters of fresh milk and cream, eggs just hatched, and huge one foot by one foot blocks of real butter.

Some of you might have seen Jean-Marie Gremillet on the Food Network. If not, you can find him at

Jean-Marie and his wife sell the highest quality foie gras and pate from ducks and geese that have been raised exclusively in the Southwest of France.

One of the more colorful characters at the market – the butcher along with his wild boar head, pheasants, ducks and chicken complete with heads, feet and feathers.

Bernard giving me one of his “Not another picture?!” looks.

Pierre Rauss purchases all his salts from a small independent “geurandeur” or salt harvester in the Geurande region of Bretagne, source of the best fleur de sel in the country – or according to the French, the world :*)

So if you ever get to Paris on a Wednesday, Friday or Sunday morning, make sure you take the 7 metro line to Place Monge and say “Bonjour” to all these people that make life so delicious.

Les Fermiers de Place Monge 1 October,2006Cucina Testa Rossa

  • Anonymous

    les fermiers de la place monge.

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    Delightful post! I love all the faces.

  • Anonymous

    thanks stephanie – my little market is such a source of joy for me, i practically skip through the market.

    thanks anon, i’ll get it right one of these days….


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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