“For the past few months we went straight into the wall. We had gone from a hundred covers a day to about thirty. The liquidation was waiting for us.” Patrice Cabioch does not hesitate when he tells about his journey and that of his partner Marie-Laure Guillou. “One evening, in mid-November, after a long talk about it, we posted a message on the production site that we wanted to be helped by Philippe Etchebest. We were in complete need.”
The element of surprise was huge
In the morning of Monday 17 January, and without warning, two technicians from M6 pushed the door of the sprawling restaurant in the countryside. “They told us they were coming to do light measurements for the shoot,” continues Patrice. And suddenly, at the stroke of twelve, it was Philippe Etchebest, personally, who arrived. “I was stunned. The element of surprise was huge. You can see that in the broadcast.”
The chef appreciates the homemade sausage in brioche and the small pork shank
That day, the restaurant, opened in 1971 by Hélène, Marie-Laure’s mother, was closed. Patrice, who is very organized, always prepares his daily specials 24 hours in advance. The Top Chef judge is alone in the room and appreciates the homemade sausage in brioche and the little pork knuckle served to him. He goes to the kitchen, which is kept in a very professional manner, and says he doesn’t understand at all why the people are at half-mast. Many hours later he will point out serious organizational problems. But also the decoration that has had its day, and work in the kitchen.
Work supported by production
“Tuesday at 7 am, the production asked us to leave the restaurant until Thursday at 4 pm, continues Marie-Laure. When we got back, the restaurant was unrecognizable.” The decor and furnishings of the great hall had been revised. And in the kitchen some of the pianos, a plancha and metal cabinets had been changed. “I had an estimate made a few months ago,” says Patrice. I had it for more than 40,000 €. Unthinkable in the situation we found ourselves in. Production has given us all that.” She was also the one who paid the slate for the recovery evening where dozens of residents were invited to eat for free.
People called until 4:00 am. Only expressions of support, but also people who wanted to book
On March 14, more than 3.3 million viewers—a record audience for the show—discovered the Guillec restaurant in front of their TV. Patrice and Marie-Laure open up without hesitation. “We were cash, as we usually are. We got naked.” After the broadcast, the phone didn’t stop ringing. “People called until 4 am. Only expressions of support, but also people who wanted to make reservations, Marie-Laure specifies. More than 500 messages, all very positive , were posted to our Facebook page. It was crazy”. Patrice, very moved, received a call from his former boss, with whom he worked fifteen years ago in Hendaye (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).
The indicator of 100 customers reached again
Since the broadcast of Cauchemar in the kitchen, the restaurant has been full. The level of 100 customers per service has been reached again. “We refuse a lot of people who haven’t booked,” Marie-Laure continues, plates in her hands. Some travel more than 100 km to get here. Sorry to say we are out of seats.
Philippe Etchebest takes our news. he is a good person
In the kitchen, the chef, who only swears by the homemade, and has found a smile, is now assisted by four waitresses instead of three. “Soon I also want to be helped by a student. Let’s hope this rebirth won’t be a piece of cake, he concludes. We will do everything we can to make it last. Philippe Etchebest takes our news in any case. He called us twice. He’s a good person.”