Amélie Darvas – The warrior of the kitchen
Torn between military and culinary careers, Amélie Darvas is now one of the most recognized stars in the French foodie firmament. Rebellious and turbulent, she felt she needed discipline, so she decided to undergo the rigid hierarchies of the kitchen.
Amélie Darvas left school at the age of fifteen to pursue her passion. Her direction was born thanks to the support of her father, a representative for the company Valrhona chocolates, who introduced her to this world. From the beginning, she proved herself a strong woman, having her first culinary experiences in the great kitchens of Jean-François Rouquette, Hélène Darroze, and Éric Fréchon. But, her idea of catering was different. She sought something original where she could demonstrate her determination in a sustainable way. After opening her first restaurant Haï Kaï in Paris in 2018, she inaugurated the pinnacle of her efforts, the Äponem. It is here, in the shadow of a seventeenth-century monastic complex on the banks of the Peyne River, that she succeeds in freeing her creative flair and her passion for local and 0 km products. The restaurant’s vegetable garden exploits permaculture to ensure the richness and stability of an ecosystem that also reflects the resilience of chef Amélie, who has been able to rise even after her first restaurant closed following the terrorist attacks in the French capital.
She offers an instinctive cuisine without a la carte menu, because it is prepared according to what the vegetable garden offers. References to the background father figure are not lacking, as in the pork cheek served with cherries and raw cacao. Amélie’s gastronomic vision represents a freedom that needs to collaborate with the surrounding landscape, emphasizing their idyllic relationship. This link has also been established over time with the sommelier, Gaby Benicio, who has been working alongside Amélie for years. The awards were not long in coming from a Michelin star in 2019 to a Michelin green clover in 2020. The latter is a significant award for the chef, who is crowning all her efforts made in the world of sustainable catering. Now she has another dream to realize; to open the doors of a small guest house to welcome guests in her country world, between nature and cuisine, and a pastry shop where you can taste fresh croissants and freshly baked bread with an exceptional view.
Today, Äponem is a point of reference for all those who want to experience some moments of joy, because this is the meaning of the name for the indigenous Brazilian tribe of Pataxo: happiness. Amélie Darvas has managed to create her happy corner.