For 22 years, Yann Eber and his wife have been welcoming their customers to their restaurant in Molsheim (67), in Bas-Rhin. In the kitchens of The Auberge de la Chevrerie, the Master Restorer surrounds itself with good seasonal, local and mostly organic products. For even more freshness, Yann Eber and his team go to the picking before every shift. You don’t have to go far for that; On the terrace of his establishment, Yann has installed an innovative greenhouse that allows him to grow his own products and move food production as close as possible to the plate on a larger scale. This is the ambition of my food, the origin of the concept. Initially launched for families, myfood connected greenhouses have become a real tool for restaurateurs like Yann Eber. The chef grows vegetables, fruits, edible flowers and aromatic herbs to prepare his local and seasonal dishes. To speak.
Working with organic and local products from surrounding farms is a matter of common sense. Whether it’s fruits and vegetables, duck or goat cheese made by my brother on the family farm at the end of the inn garden, I bet as much as possible proximity and freshness, even though I don’t forbid myself to deviate from it every now and then. This way of doing things, in contrast to the practices that have been democratized in recent decades, nevertheless imposes some limits. Certain aromatic herbs or edible flowers were sometimes difficult to find, they had to be brought from far away or confined to very short harvest periods.
I told myself for a long time that it would be even more practical to grow them yourself and on site. Then I heard (a sign of fate?) about the innovative myfood greenhouses. In my car, on my way home from shopping, an RTL journalist caught my eye. He talks about a startup in Molsheim – where my restaurant is located – that presents connected greenhouses at the CES show in Las Vegas. When I got out of my car, I immediately contacted myfood to find out more. It has now been two years since I installed my greenhouse, just before the first confinement. Which left me all the time to take it in hand.
Produce your own aromatic herbs and vegetables all year round
Today I am delighted to have integrated it into my restaurant as it allows me to produce my own aromatic herbs, my edible flowers and many vegetables… Even in winter! I grow flat-leaf parsley, chives and chervil all year round. But also less common plants such as lovage, pimpernel, nasturtiums that give lovely leaves in winter and beautiful edible flowers in spring. Where families grow their strawberries, melons, lettuce, tomatoes, aubergines, I let my imagination run wild and have fun planting fennel agastache, pineapple sage, borage, lemon verbena, kohlrabi and cucumbers… to the delight of the taste buds of my customers !
Thanks to this own production, we have access to products that were once hard to find due to seasonality or price† Indeed, a small tray of edible flowers can cost up to 7 €! And it doesn’t last over time. Very often the leftover flowers end up in the trash after the service…. Nowadays we only pick what we need with the greenhouse. Before each shift, my team or I will take a walk in the greenhouse with a basket and scissors to do our little tufts. In this way we can finish the decoration of our plates with a gastronomic touch and make our customers aware of fresh, local and seasonal products. It is an approach that is in line with my values and my vision on cooking.
Raising awareness of seasonality and freshness of products
The greenhouse is on the terrace, customers pass in front of it to enter the restaurant, which arouses curiosity. Moreover, many of them ask us to visit it. For them it is a way to discover how aquaponic farming works, for us a way to communicate about our values and the way we work. Because restaurateurs have a role to play in passing on this common sense messageespecially with the seasonality of products.
If you eat tomatoes in the winter, or strawberries for Christmas, that’s nonsense. Having these products travel thousands of miles, which in any case won’t be a big deal, is a whim. It reminds me of the “bling bling” of the eighties, the “Dallas years”… Well, respecting seasonality is also a way to boost your creativity as a chef† We crack our heads to discover original flavors and bring forgotten or little-known products up to date. It must be good, but also healthy for people and the planet. I’m sure if our restaurant is full almost all year round, that definitely means people love what we do!
Would you like too become master of your diet again and make your own vegetables, fruits and herbs at home † Find out how the myfood greenhouses and adopt a diet in harmony with the seasons and in accordance with your values †