THE EYE - - 9:46 AM
How Chef Marie-Aude Rose came to the Guild
Marie-Aude was raised in a bon vivant home, surrounded by a creative milieu of painters, musicians, and lawyers, and began to discover her own path early. The women in her family loved to cook, and as a child, Marie-Aude cherished picking green beans and leeks with her cousins, from their grandmother Suzanne’s garden in Normandy. She would also study closely as her other grandmother, Jacqueline, cooked delicious veal liver with shallots, vinegar and cream, while her grandfather Andre would bake his own father’s brioche.
Marie-Aude began college at La Sorbonne, where she studied American and English civilization and literature, and performed in small plays. After two years, she began to pursue acting with focus, dedicating herself to the theater, while working student jobs as a waitress and prep cook. In time and in turn, her interests in the culinary arts as a career grew. It was so fun to gather with friends on weekends, go to the market, cook, talk about food and wine, and gradually it became clear to her that she was much happier in a kitchen than on a stage.
At first, many professional chefs discouraged her from entering the male-dominated kitchens of Paris. She ignored them, and obtained two important diplomas as a qualified cook from l’Ecole Ferrandi, one of the best schools in Paris. Following this, and a year-long apprenticeship, she spent seven years cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants, gradually working her way through all the kitchen stations, and learning everything she could. Eventually, however, she felt a need for a change.
Aspiring to work in the United States, she sent her resume to the French Laundry, and was almost ready to leave France for California when she met Daniel Rose while having dinner at his first restaurant, Spring, in Paris. Marie-Aude immediately adored his concept, his food, his American accent, and asked if he needed help. He said yes, and she began work at Spring in August 2007.
Spring was the change she needed. Everything she learned with Daniel was on a different level: not about techniques or rules or recipes, or working under pressure or getting every plate perfect-perfect-perfect at the right time. Spring was about the quality of the products and the joy of cooking: taking the time to think about a dish, taking the time to connect with the customers, making a feast every night.
To Marie-Aude, this was a revolution. She felt, with Daniel, as though her skills and competence had finally found the right place to succeed, and the desire to build with him grew. A year later, this story became a romance. During the deliriously beautiful years that followed, Marie-Aude and Daniel learned many different aspects of the industry as they bought, tasted, and sold wine, constructed and opened several restaurants, and ran a shop and a kitchen while maintaining a restaurant and its clientele.
In 2012 the couple’s daughter Wilhelmina was born, and Marie-Aude took time off to be a mother. To her own surprise she took to this new role well; but after a year she was ready to work again. Planning to keep reasonable hours, she became a pastry chef in a coffee shop, where she could have fun baking and cooking very casual meals. In 2014 their second child, Otto, was born. Continuing the pace of expansion, in 2015 the couple opened La Bourse et la Vie bistro, a restaurant they still have in Paris.
In 2016, their family moved to New York, so that Daniel could open Le Coucou. And now, a year later, Marie-Aude is opening her own café and bakery, La Mercerie, inside of the new Roman & Williams Guild building. Marie-Aude says that she is excited by the energy of the city here, and also to work with her partners, florist Emily Thompson and designers Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch. It has always been a dream for her to live and work in America. And, finally, this dream is coming true.