Named after “two loving grannies”, this charcutier-traiteur skillfully balances tradition and innovation
A few steps from Pelleport Metro station, the charcutier-traiteur at 8 rue Surmelin got a new look in February 2019. The shop’s former owners retired after several decades in business, taking with them their collection of pig figurines. When Yann and Pauline Plé arrived, they gave the boutique a fresh coat of paint and added contemporary decorations. They left a wall of retro tiles behind the counter, where they hung two black and white portraits of their grandmothers.
The shop’s name, Jeanine & Christiane, is a tribute to these “two loving grannies”, as well as to their generous cooking and to the convivial moments shared at their tables. “It’s an homage to our grandmothers and to the values that they imparted to us and that we wanted to convey in our boutique,” Pauline explains.
With these memories in mind, Yann and Pauline prepare traditional French cured meats and cuisine: bouchées à la reine, ham pastries, veal blanquettes and plum clafoutis. But they also draw inspiration from seasonal produce and world flavors to create innovative pâtés en croûte, prepared dishes and desserts. Anything from chicken mafe to pork pad thai, from poke bowls to vegetarian risottos can appear on the menu. And everything is prepared with the passion and expertise that won the couple honors for their Paris cooked ham and a gold medal for their pâté en croûte “with pork belly, black trumpet mushrooms, lemons and foie gras”.
“We like to make traditional French dishes, which we’re going to keep as they are. But that doesn’t stop us from making dishes from around the world as well,” Yann says, stressing their desire to respect the recipes and the products.
Daughter of a charcutier-traiteur, Pauline attended business school before changing course to earn a bachelor’s in culinary arts at Ferrandi. She then worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. Yann obtained his butcher’s diploma at 17. Having “a tendency to get bored quickly”, he then earned diplomas in charcuterie and in pastry. After marrying a year and a half ago, they decided to open a shop together to showcase their many culinary trades. And the little mom-and-pop store, on a calm street just next to the busy Pelleport-Gambetta intersection, was exactly what this couple from the Essonne department was looking for.
“Moving to Paris scared us a little, but it went really well. This neighborhood is a small village in the city. It’s a pleasant place to live,” Yann says. Even so, the first few weeks of business were complicated, as customers adapted to the new style. “But then word of mouth got around. People started to get to know us and understand what we were doing. Now it’s working beautifully,” Yann says.
Today, their clients are a mix of residents and professionals in the neighborhood. Thanks to the lunchtime crowd, Yann and Pauline sell some 180 to 190 takeaway meals each day. Their menu changes daily but always includes an €8.50 main-course-and-dessert formula and a pâté en croûte at €28.50 per kilo.
“We listen to our customers, and we try to respond to them. People asked for more vegetable dishes, for example, so we make more now than at the beginning,” Pauline says. Noticing a demand for more elaborate, higher-range dishes, Pauline now prepares dishes such as amaretto roasted turbot with butternut purée and hazelnut oil.
Pauline enjoys developing new recipes, and she prides herself in never prepare the same dish twice (“apart from the classics”). Yann’s creative outlet is patés en crôute. “It’s a bit complicated to bring creativity to the job of charcutier. But pâté en croûte allows me to work on the pastry, to be innovative and to work with Pauline on the flavors, so it’s really a fun product to make,” says Yann.
Content with their success, Yann and Pauline plan to continue to indulge the 20th with their homemade cuisine — under the watchful eyes, of course, of Jeanine and Christiane.