Our culinary coup de cœur in Paris : ChoCho by Chef Thomas Chisholm

Located at 54 Rue du Paradis in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, at the heart of the capital, ChoCho is Chef Chisholm’s first restaurant and the chance for the world to discover his immense culinary creativity which he has been honing for the better part of 15 years.

Stepping into one of the city’s iconic limestone buildings, guests are welcomed to sit down at the communal table or in one of the cushiony booths, to relish Chef Chisholm’s eclectic menu of American, Catalan, and, of course, French recipes.

“Top Chef” participant, Thomas Chisholm and his beginnings

Lartisien: Thomas, tell us about you and what started your love for food?

Thomas Chisholm: My love for good food started when I was a child. There are many good home cooks in the family, my grandmother, my father and his sister for example. I also believe that growing up in a big, multicultural city like New York opened my palate at a young age. When you add to that the years of hard work, that’s what you get.

In 2021, Chef Thomas Chisholm was introduced to the public thanks to his appearance on the popular culinary competition “Top Chef”, where he left a singular impression for his technical skills and visual artistry.

Lartisien: The world first discovered you on the 12th season of “Top Chef”. How has your life changed since then?

Thomas Chisholm: It’s true that my life has changed quite a bit since season 12 of “Top Chef”. Thanks to this experience, I was able to open my restaurant. It was a great boost to my career as well as an incredible human and culinary experience. And it wasn’t just through the incredible encounters that I’ve had, but also through how my creativity has evolved as a chef.

Thomas and the opening of ChoCho

Lartisien: What made you want to take the leap and launch your very own restaurant?

Thomas Chisholm: From my very first years in the kitchen, I’ve wanted to be free and to be able to be bold in this profession. And owning my own restaurant seemed to me to be the best way to get that freedom. From then on, opening my own restaurant became one of my main objectives.

A humble little spot, ChoCho makes up for its size with an incredible atmosphere and panache. Featuring a contemporary design of high ceiling, bright lights and modern artwork on the walls, as well as comfortable furniture, all of which serve to convey the atmosphere of convivial dining room, it’s not hard for guests to easily feel at home, all the while relishing the chef’s innovative dishes.

Thanks to the open kitchen, guests can even witness the chef and his team prepare each dish to the hip-hop tunes playing in the background.

Lartisien: What would you say is the DNA of Chocho and its menu? Any particular influences?

Thomas Chisholm: I would say that the goal with ChoCho is to be free, to experiment in the kitchen and in the restaurant itself, in the experience that we can offer to the customers, without having a label. In the kitchen, I try to express myself as honestly as possible, so it’s a mix of my identity, being American, French, and Catalan.

Chisholm and his gastronomic experience

Lartisien: You are also a visual artist. How much has that influenced your dishes?

Thomas Chisholm: I think it’s mostly a need for expression, which transferred -in spite of myself and because of my forced arrival in France– from drawing to cooking. But it’s true that I attach great importance and take great pleasure in the preparation of my dishes, in the visual rendering, in terms of color, shape, texture, volume, contrast…

ChoCho offers 3 unique menus to its guests – Lunch, Dinner, and Weekend- as well as special menu for events such as Christmas and New Year. Through these, Chef Chisholm explores the various culinary influences of his youth. As such, the restaurant offers an eclectic gastronomic experience that blends tastes and textures from various cultures -think French, American, Japanese, and Catalan- with Chef Chisholm’s unique vision as the finishing touch for each dish.

Lartisien: What’s your favorite dish on the menu to prepare and which one would you recommend in priority to your customers?

Thomas Chisholm: If I had to choose, I would say Le plat à saucer. It’s really a dish that I love to prepare, and every plate is different. The idea of this dish is to recreate one of the best moments of the meal: the moment when you sauce with the bread, and all the elements of the dish are mixed together. It’s a dish that changes very regularly, depending on the produce we get. We have good feedback from our customers, and it is a dish that is really part of ChoCho’s DNA.

Lartisien: What’s the next stage for yourself and for Chocho?

Thomas Chisholm: I don’t know yet, there is still a lot of work to do here at ChoCho!

Lartisien: And finally, you have been all over the world and worked in many restaurants, what are some of your favorite places to visit or eat when in Paris or New York?

Thomas Chisholm: In Paris, definitely head to Le Servan for a good “bistronomic” cuisine with good products. The restaurant AT has the most incredible experience, and the Cave Septime is the best place to stop by for a drink.

Our favorites:

Starter: Roasted ‘’pieds de moutons” mushrooms, Pierre Robine’s pine tree pesto, burnt butter sabayon

Main: Black Iberian pig chop, koji sauce, trout egg & tarragon

Dessert: Rice pudding, Satsuma Mandarin, soured milk ice cream, milk crumble

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