Le Syndicat reaches for the stars

A project to show how chefs and bartenders can work together has resulted in a new menu for Le Syndicat. Co-founder Romain Le Mouëllic explains how it worked.

Chefs and bartenders share the same language of flavour and creativity – yet still the two worlds rarely meet. For the latest menu at our Paris bar, Le Syndicat, we wanted to change that. We wanted to explore what would happen when these two worlds met.  

Our latest menu is called Sous La Même Étoile, which means lucky star – and it’s our most ambitious yet. Through collaborating with some of the best French chefs on each of the cocktails, we aimed to bring new ideas, techniques, ingredients, philosophies to both sides of the gastronomic divide.  

Central to our idea was the aim to enhance the image of bartenders and the cocktail industry in the minds of the public, showing that we can work side by side with the best gastronomic chefs. It was also a great opportunity for chefs to find new inspiration, to escape from cuisine, opening their minds to a new experience.  

We looked for both rising and well-established chefs and managed to convince a wonderful team to work with us. From the two-starred Le Meurice we have executive chef Amaury Bouhours. There is Louise Bourrat, winner of Top Chef 2021, and Adrien Cachot, a finalist of Top Chef 2020. Two-starred Michel Sarran from the jury of the Top Chef competition has collaborated, Amandine Chaignot from Restaurant Pouliche and champion pastry chef Pierre-Jean Quinonero also joined.

Here at Le Syndicat we only use French products, so with this menu we wanted to showcase the best of French artisanal excellence. We chose 12 official partners for the menu – local houses representing the diversity of French terroir balanced by the big houses: Bellevoye, Rémy Martin, Hennessy, Cointreau, Grey Goose, St Raphaël, Maison Villevert, Trois Rivières, Calvados Boulard, Gin L’Acrobate and Armagnac Janneau.

We think this project will strengthen the confidence our French producers have in Le Syndicat and the impact we can have in return. 

The cocktails 

The groups made for an unusual gathering. The bartenders – led by Thibault Massina and Romain Aubert – and chefs had a different style, vocabulary, clothes, and of course, experiences. Which was exactly what we wanted.  

The chefs brought many new ideas that we have absorbed into the menu. For example, Adrien Cachot is known for returning unpopular produce to the kitchen through innovative cuisine. To ward off scepticism, the ingredients remain undisclosed until the end of the meal. To pay tribute to the chef’s art of surprise, his cocktail Holy G sees a ‘trompe l’oeil’ – a cocktail vivid with tastes and spirits but deceivingly see-through. The drink is served with a tablet infused with coconut and habanero.  

Amandine Chaignot is a former student of pharmacy, a science that, very much like her cuisine, is rooted in plants. She introduced us to flavours of oceanic flora to bring the tastes of the sea into her drink. So for Kissin’ Pink we came to the idea of a herbalised Daiquiri infused with dill, wood sorrel and oyster leaves. A tonic drink with acidity, freshness and iodine flavours. It is garnished with skipjack tuna strips to enhance the marine fragrance.

Louise Bourrat’s idea was to make a biographical cocktail. For her I Know I Can, we created a layered cocktail, with playful tackiness and sophisticated flavours, piling up a cornflake lactoserum linking to her childhood, a CBD infusion for her adolescence, and a miso-based layer to represent the tastes of adulthood. 

But the exchange was not one-sided. Our bartenders worked closely with the chefs to help put their ideas into liquid form. They also learned a lot about what we do. Amaury Bouhours from Le Meurice was so impressed with our FEFE Tonic Juniper Grapefruit Seltzer, it is now on the menu of Le Meurice.  

We are just at the beginning of this journey. There is so much more to be done by developing the exchange between bartenders and chefs, between the domain of cocktails and the house of gastronomy. Let’s see where it brings us.