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With an ability to catalyze new dining experiences and awaken the palettes of discriminating diners, innovative fusion foods are the latest phenomenon within the international culinary landscape. A talented culinary expert who experiments and blends unique flavors and unusual ingredients into traditional recipes can bring an overwhelming sense of joy to those with a curious taste for trending culinary cuisines.
One culinary connoisseur who has spearheaded new food trends is French development chef Margot Amzallag, whose avant-garde menus and ability to predict dining trends continues to bring innovation to the international industry. From the Parisian-inspired duck poke bowl to quail deviled eggs in a sesame nest, Margot Amzallag understands that every detail of a dish that is being served needs to complement the other ingredients in a way that is somewhat surprising yet delectable to the senses.
”I would say that curiosity is the drive for creativity,” explains Margot Amzallag. “In order to be able to create certain food pairings, you need to be curious about discovering new tastes, associations and textures.”
Raised in the Pâtisserie-filled streets of Paris, Margot Amzallag always felt a special connection to all things food. From the preparation stage to the hours spent around the table after the meal is over, her chemistry in the kitchen has been the top-tier recipe behind her profound success.
“I believe that creativity and innovation comes from curiosity and travel,” explains Margot Amzallag. “My roots are far from common--my mom is from Madagascar and my dad’s side are from Spain and Morocco, which definitely played a key role in me bringing innovation to the industry.”
Inspired by travel and seduced by the signature flavors of Hawaii, Margot Amzallag launched Ono Poké in 2016, when she was just 23 years old. As France’s first ever poké restaurant, Ono Poké continues to invite local patrons to explore Hawaii’s native ingredients all without having to board a plane. Pairing tropical exotic fillings with French ingredients and technique, alongside charming European ambience, the trendsetting restaurant is set in the heart of Paris; a city that is known internationally for welcoming diners who yearn for unique culinary experiences.
Margot Amzallag shares, “Our customers are very loyal and return to us on a daily basis as they like to vary the combinations of possible ingredients and flavors and taste all the pokés.”
Catering towards a health conscious clientele, Margot Amzallag has infused her menu with vitality. Some of the signature dishes which alert the senses of many Parisians are the Huli Huli Poké, the decadent Sweet Poké Choco and the unique French Confit Duck bowl, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
“My goal was to bring a fresh new concept to the people of Paris,” says Margot Amzallag. “When I discovered poké bowls I fell in love with the concept. It’s fresh, healthy and exotic, and most importantly, it was new on the French market.”
Looking at the multitude of options for eating out in 2016, Margot Amzallag understood that the landscape of modern dining was beginning to undergo a healthy renovation. This observation, combined with her instincts for evolving food trends and consumer culture caused her to craft an innovative menu that epitomized what diners were craving--offering them food that was better for them, better for the environment, and a better selection of fresh and local ingredients.
Margot Amzallag’s innovative French-tropical fusions did not go unnoticed. In fact, her achievements even landed her an appearance on France’s hit national cooking show, “Très Très Bon,” where she produced a selection of mouth-watering poké bowls that enticed the taste buds of those watching from home.
In many respects, Margot Amzallag’s success lies in the fact that her restaurant and its menu was ahead of the game. Indeed, beyond her unique fusion concept, healthy bowls have become extremely popular over the years, and for good reason. They’re easy to eat on the go and are often customizable to suit various dietary needs and preferences. Her insane creativity and amazing execution of incredible ingredients paved the foundations for what has become an accomplished career. With Ono Poké, Margot left her mark on the Parisien dining landscape, while also creating a great community space where locals and visitors could gather around a table and enjoy new culinary experiences together.
Along with gaining national recognition from “Très Très Bon,” which led to countless franchise offers and a successful collaboration with the influential restaurant guide Gault & Millau, Ono Poké has also received critical industry praise from trendsetting magazines such as Vanity Fair, Numéro and L’Express, as well as the billion dollar airline, Air France.
“Starting a business in any industry is a very big challenge, but when you’re passionate about what you do, the hard work pays off and you succeed,” Margot Amzallag explains. “I’m really proud that I overcame all the challenges that come with opening a new business.”
Throughout her illustrious career as a development chef, Margot Amzallag has also been in high demand as a private chef to many celebrities, including the Oscar-winning French director Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist'') and award-winning actor Mathieu Amalric (“Quantum of Solace,” “The French Dispatch”). In addition to being labeled a gastronomy expert, a food trendsetter and a communication expert, she has also become known as an international catering extraordinaire for the entertainment industry.
Earlier this year, following in the culinary footsteps of her mother, Margot Amzallag became the co-owner and majority shareholder of Grenata, a catering company that services the likes of entertainment giants Warner Bros., Netflix and Orange Cinéma Series--the French equivalent of HBO.
Given her elite client base, Amzallag frequently caters prolific events for over 800 guests at a time, which requires her expert leadership skills to not only develop the event’s happenings, but oversee the flawless production of up to 5,000 petits fours (appetizers) for every sitting.
Commenting on the ingredients to her success, Amzallag says, “Attention to detail is essential. I have such prestigious clients so everything always needs to be perfect.”
Approaching each catering gig with the utmost precision and care, Margot Amzallag’s management style and mouth-watering menus not only drives the event’s success, but has many other industry leaders clamoring to collaborate with her and praising her notable industry contributions.
“Margot has a resume that rivals some of the best chefs in Paris or Los Angeles. With her creativity, she was able to craft menus and execute dishes that were beyond amazing. The difficulty in this industry is finding key people that have creative talent as well as an understanding of scale and cost, which Margot possesses,” explains Farm Cup Coffee owner Emerson Haro, who collaborated with Amzallag on several large scale events in the city.
“Few other people could design such inventive menus and large-scale dining experiences, while simultaneously possessing the skills to direct employees, purchase all the produce, rent all the equipment and set up a line for us to use for the event in a quick turnaround time, as Margot did. Without her we would have lost out on a tremendous amount of money from these events.”
There’s no question that Amzallag’s innovative food operations are revolutionizing the catering industry. Most recently, she was offered the exclusive caterer’s position at “Le Salon du Panthéon,” a renowned French restaurant owned by the Oscar-nominated French actress Catherine Deneuve (“Indochine”). She also curated a health conscious menu which featured a salmon poké bowl and aloe tea for ELLE Magazine’s prestigious two day wellness event “Elle Zen Days,” which prompted the organizers to hire Amzallag to cater many more events.
Much like the craze of the cronut or cauliflower pizza crust, innovative fusion food is here to stay--and just like the delicate French camembert, it will only get better over time.
With her European roots and curiosity for creating new culinary experiences, Margot Amzallag continues to pioneer new, mouthwatering dishes and ever-expanding culinary operations, meaning us foodies get to look forward to many more exciting and innovative à la carte items to come.
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