Alain Coumont was born into a family of cooks. His grandparents had a restaurant, his father was a chef and his aunt Simone was a talented pâtissier who baked tarts every Saturday for the whole family to devour on Sunday. When he was 6 years old, he started to read from the two cookbooks that were on the shelve at home. He taught himself to cook by reading recipes and hints from famous chefs. His first creations were chocolate mousse, cream puffs and eclairs. Little did he know…
In 1990, Alain opened the first Le Pain Quotidien in Belgium at Rue Antoine Dansaert. The core value which Alain holds dear to his heart – and still does today – is simplicity. We often hear him say: “Guys, let’s just keep it simple!”.
The very first menu he wrote had 2 breakfast suggestions, 8 tartines, 4 salads and 3 desserts. That’s it, nothing more and nothing less. Featuring all seasonal and local ingredients. Some of these dishes can still be found on our menu today: the LPQ breakfast, the chocolate bombe and the tartine boeuf basilic.
Alain left Belgium with his crazy and at that time revolutionary idea of organic sourdough and went to NY where he opened his first Le Pain Quotidien restaurant in the Big Apple. His international dream became a reality. Even though we were opening more and more restaurants, we never forgot what Alain’s initial idea was: simple, wholesome and sustainable food, to share with friends or family around our communal table or at home around your kitchen table.
“People may have forgotten or may not have ever known, but LPQ was a trendsetter avant-la-lettre. It was never permitted to smoke in our restaurants, long before it become the standard. The first vegetarian dish came on the menu in 1992, we banned all sodas in 2005 and in 2011 we introduced our first vegan dish. Now 30 years later our menu combines flavors, with respect for the environment and nutrient intakes. It comes alive around fundamental principles: respect for the seasons, animal welfare, close collaboration with local suppliers & the fight against food waste.” – Alain Coumont
Our new menu design is a representation of the simplicity that we care so deeply about. We have chosen to work with fewer ingredients and less manipulations, so we can guarantee the high quality of each and every single one of them. We go for local and organic whenever possible and offer a selection of seasonal vegan dishes.
“Let’s just keep it simple – AC