Masterchef S02 ep6 : Arnaud Bignon, Restaurant Spondi, [Athens]

Interview with Arnaud Bignon

Ex protege of Eric Frechon [Paris' Bristol], Bignon has received the first 2-star rating ever given to a restaurant in Greece. And it's well deserved!


Spondi: My name is … I am the chef of the restaurant Spondi.

Spondi: Spondi’s restaurant we have now 11 years old, me, two and a half years I’m here.

Spondi: Spondi’s a Greek restaurant with French cuisine. We try to fix French cuisine but a
different view because the Greek it’s very hard, so French cuisine but more lighter. We don’t use
so much butter or some product like this, we try to use more product avoid … this kind of product.
But this with a view of the French cuisine.

Spondi: The Greek people they like a lot eating and for them it’s a pleasure to come to eat at 8, 10,
20% together to have like a family but with friends and we try to work like this, we do a lot of
small portions because they like a lot to have a small plate or two plates with a lot of things, things
like this and for that we have a cart, we can do small portion, half portion of a normal plate.

Spondi: When I was young I like … to cook with my mother, more sweet, but I don’t think the
same way after and I start to be cook, at 15 years only.

Spondi: Twasia Tour Lemant, was a small restaurant with a very classic cuisine, but very
interesting, you can learn a lot of things. I think the good beginning to start working like this.

Spondi: It was all time a real pleasure to cook and I, it was the only thing I wanted to do when I
was young, to be cook.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Spondi: The pleasure at the beginning it was to fix something and to give to the other person for
my family for example at the beginning and I lot to fix things like this and the taste, say to me
what’s good, if it’s nice and to see their face, how they can take pleasure.

Spondi: At the beginning I don’t think I have understand exactly the difference between eating and
cooking and art. I think it was when I start to work to a restaurant … it to Paris to … they give the
… the chef it was a Mr Grandar, Mr Grandar and the sous chef was Yannick … the chef of

Spondi: Every day it was completely different when you start to working you start the morning you
not know exactly what you have to do and every day it’s like this you change, you change all the
time you change and it was very hard, very difficult to understand exactly all the time what want
the chef, what he want to do every day.

Spondi: When you start to cook you don’t understand what you do. You do because someone have
said to you, you do like this, but I think that different state you can start to understand exactly what
you do and why you do that and why you do that, and that was a big change.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Spondi: When I start T… it was a completely different to the other restaurant before and we work
with excellent, excellent product and that it was the first step to understand exactly how you can
cook with respect for the product yeah. I stayed for three years, after that I go to M… restaurant
with one star Michelin with … restaurant menu was … was completely different and very
interesting to see different part of this job here. After that I go to … Ducas but I stay just one
month, 59 … with Mr … was the chef. It was just after … it was very, very hard. I don’t like the
how every cook work together, it was not like a big team it was not a good competition and after I
go to a … and start with Mr Preshon, I stay for seven years.

Spondi: One night was very interesting because this one person who have a great art and when you
work with one person like this he can give you all and you can learn, you learn, all the time
something to say to you, to explain to you.

Spondi: I meet Mr Presalis the owner of this restaurant in … and he find he want to find a chef
because the old chef left and I meet him to … and he asked me to come to see restaurant because
he try to find a new chef and I come and see him and after I stay.

Spondi: At the beginning it was a little difficult because it’s difficult to understand exactly what
the customer wants, it’s not Paris, it’s not the same kind of food and it’s not the same product too,
the first year it was difficult to find the good product, to find the good way to cook, but I think
after one year, one year and a half, we try and we find a good way.

Jewellery Theatre Elements

Spondi: It’s a classic cuisine we do the classic French but with some touch of international cuisine,
for example I like to use some spices, Asian and Indian, I like a lot of curry, I use … satay.

Do the Greeks go for that?

Spondi: No it’s not Greeks but we use a lot too we have pizza one plate around the … and ouzo
with sea bass and that it was the first plate we fix here and where we try to understand exactly what
Greek people like and to use some product like this I think it’s interesting for them to eat.

Spondi: When I try to fix one plate I want something first very beautiful when the waiter give the
plate to the customer so you can say wow and you want to eat it because it’s very nice, nice colour,
nice presentation but after I try to do like something very final, I like to taste the food taste, but not
too heavy, to use a product, but to have something more with more air inside, more light, but with
a lot of taste though.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

Spondi: We use a lot … the fish we fix some plate with … and some vegetable are very nice, me I
like rocket, is very nice to use this product and we have a lot of zucchini too, some milk … is very,
very good yes. We have a lot of good bok, the baby bok too it’s very good and we try all the time
to find the best product. If we cannot find here in Greece, we buy in France.

Spondi: But this is the difficult point I think in Spondi because the people outside all the time say
Spondi is very expensive but the things they don’t know the product are very expensive, when we
buy that in France it’s more expensive in France and after of course you must pay a little more. But
I don’t think we are so expensive to a two start Michelin restaurant.

Spondi: At the beginning, the kitchen we don’t have a problem because if were … before it was a
French chef but the customer it was a little more difficult because I think we have two kinds of
customer, where the customer come to eat with Spondi because they know how to eat and they go
to some other restaurant you work and they like to eat but some for other customer they come to
eat with Spondi because maybe some friend of them say go to eat it’s good, all that, and for these
kind of people it’s not difficult maybe for them to understand sometimes what we do and for that
we try to fix a cart with a different not style but yes, taste more simple to understand yeah.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Arnaud Bignon, Restaurant Spondi, [Athens]