With a rating of no less than ‘three forks’ in the Guide Michelin, a young talent award from the Gault & Millau guide (Nord-Pas-De-Calais) in 2017 and the title of Master-Restaurateur, chef Jean-François Buche never ceases to amaze. Welcome to the Au Départ restaurant, in Béthune. Today, owner Audrey Buche, who has been a D-Vine client since September 2019, let us into her restaurant.
Can you tell us who you are and how you got here?
My name is Audrey Buche, I’m 40 years old and I’ve been the owner of the restaurant Au Départ in Béthune for 20 years. Like my husband, I’m a fan of good wines, food and cuisine. We also have a hotel which we have had for 10 years, a bar and, since recently, a brasserie. I wanted to be a perfumer when I was young. When we opened our restaurant, I was instantly gobsmacked by the wines. I belong to a wine tasting club and I read a great deal of wine reviews. I’m not interested in the labels; I like to know the winery’s story. It upsets me when I hear guests saying that a wine is poor. Behind every wine, there is a producer!
What is your main daily challenge?
Surprising our customers and always bringing a sparkle to their life! We do everything we can to ensure consistency, to be constant, as we have a clientele of regulars, but who still like to be surprised. The idea is to not allow things to become too routine. We change the décor regularly, too!
How would you describe your cuisine?
Creative, inventive and in-season. My husband’s cuisine is always very balanced in flavour and texture. He is never content with just one accompaniment. It’s a generous yet gourmet cuisine! And it is deliciously flavoured. He likes using the cooking juices and I love that! I adore his cuisine because I can match it with some great wines.
What will be your signature dish for this summer?
Marinated langoustines, mixed varieties of tomato with cream and olive oil from Alexis Munoz.
It has really been an asset for us. The D-Vine brings an extra experience to the service.
Why did you choose the D-Vine for your restaurant?
Customers are surprised and stimulated by the D-Vine. It allows us to be profitable while remaining affordable and offering quality of service. It has really been an asset for us. The D-Vine brings an extra experience to the service. Even people who don’t order a glass are intrigued. Sometimes, it encourages them to come back quickly to try it, and that includes people who were initially sceptical about the device! It has even allowed me to convert people who never used to order by-the-glass wines at restaurants due to quality issues. It’s a toy for me. I have great fun with it!
When lockdown is over, we are going to offer deliveries in glass jars with flacons.
How have you managed this unprecedented situation?
During lockdown, we took care of the hotel and various works in our establishments. We also took advantage of the time to get on with plans for the future.
How do see the re-opening? Have you planned to adapt your offering?
When lockdown is over, we are going to offer deliveries in glass jars with flacons. And for our customers’ return, we are lucky, the restaurant is big, so we will be able to space them out.
To learn more
The Mercure Metz Centre hotel, with its contemporary décor inspired by the city’s cathedral, boasts a superb location in the centre of town. The hotel welcomes leisure and business travellers. Since April 2019, the hotel’s restaurant has been equipped with the D-Vine. Interview with Anthony Schneider, Restaurant Manager at Mercure Metz Centre.