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Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse

The bouillabaisse burger, signature dish of restaurant L’Aromat.
At restaurant L'Aromat in Marseille, chef Sylvain Robert serves bouillabaisse... in his own way! The traditional Provencal dish is transformed into a delicious burger with special chips, served in two stages, starting with a mouth-watering fish broth. It’s a tasty mixture influenced by the flavours of Provence and North America, just as Marseille is.
A bold creation

The chef, who is from Marseille, sees cooking as a playful and creative subject. "For this dish, I was inspired by fast food menus that offer a hamburger, fries and drink" he says. He had a daring idea and introduced his unique burger in 2009 - it quickly captivated customers and the media. The dish now occupies star billing on the restaurant’s menu.

Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse
A bold creation

The chef, who is from Marseille, sees cooking as a playful and creative subject. "For this dish, I was inspired by fast food menus that offer a hamburger, fries and drink" he says. He had a daring idea and introduced his unique burger in 2009 - it quickly captivated customers and the media. The dish now occupies star billing on the restaurant’s menu.

The crouton: Reinvented

For this chef who grew up in the fishermen’s district of Endoume and took classes with the masters of bouillabaisse, the iconic dish of Marseille has no secrets. "I took all the elements of bouillabaisse and reinterpreted them in the burger" explains Sylvain Robert. He started with the humble crouton which became the bun for the burger, with a saffron infused fougasse (a type of Provencal bread).

A remarkable story

"This burger is an important ingredient in the story of my life, it even helped me to meet my wife" continues Sylvain Robert. With the success that followed the introduction of this dish, Sylvain expanded his team and amongst the new hires, was one who became his partner.

Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse
A remarkable story

"This burger is an important ingredient in the story of my life, it even helped me to meet my wife" continues Sylvain Robert. With the success that followed the introduction of this dish, Sylvain expanded his team and amongst the new hires, was one who became his partner.

Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse
Vegetable compote

Fennel, leek and onion are essential ingredients for the classic fish soup. In this dish, they’re present in the hamburger in the form of a compote. Sylvain Robert slices the vegetables thinly and sweats them in olive oil before cooking them on a low heat in the same pot as the one used to prepare the fish soup.

Crunchy bread

Before being cooked, the bread is brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds to help retain the traditional image of a burger. The chef also fries it in olive oil to bring a crispy texture to the food.

Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse
Crunchy bread

Before being cooked, the bread is brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds to help retain the traditional image of a burger. The chef also fries it in olive oil to bring a crispy texture to the food.

Never without fish soup

To preserve the spirit of croutons in the soup, a distinct element of bouillabaisse, Sylvain Robert soaks the bun in fish soup made from rock fish including girelle, rascasse (scorpion fish) and gobies bought fresh from fishermen at the quayside of the Vieux-Port (Old Port). It’s worth noting that all the fish on the restaurant menu are wild-caught.

No frills garnish

The stewed vegetables are carefully placed on the round bun. A tangy slice of oven-baked tomato with salt, pepper and olive oil plus colourful salad leaves also make up the filling.

Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse
No frills garnish

The stewed vegetables are carefully placed on the round bun. A tangy slice of oven-baked tomato with salt, pepper and olive oil plus colourful salad leaves also make up the filling.

"When it boils, we’re ready to roll"

To ensure that there is the taste of the fish from the traditional recipe in his famous burger, Sylvain Robert includes the essential saint-pierre (John Dory) fish for its sweetness and because it keeps its shape well in cooking. The filet is poached in the fish soup, simmered for 5 to 8 minutes. "When it boils, we’re ready to roll," summarizes the chef, revealing the origin of the name of the bouillabaisse: Bring it to a boil (bouiller in French), then lower (baisser) the temperature.

Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse
Rust: The finishing touch

Made from egg yolk, saffron, salt, pepper, minced garlic, olive oil and mustard, the rouille sauce traditionally served with bouillabaisse, which translates as ‘rust’ thanks to the colour, is a bit like mayonnaise. Its incomparable taste refines the fish soup. A vital ingredient of bouillabaisse, it has of course found its place in the burger.

Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse
A drink – and a soup

The fish broth in which the saint-pierre was poached, is served hot in a jar with a straw. The metaphor of the burger, fries and drink formula is played out right to the end. Chips, known as panisses - made with chickpea flour, are very popular in Marseille. You’ll find them sold in kiosks in the L'Estaque district.

Chef Sylvain Robert redefines bouillabaisse

Sylvain Robert never forgets that once bouillabaisse was a "dish of the poor" made with bony fish that most people didn’t want to buy. His hamburger reflects this with a heart-warming price of just 15 euros.

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