Franceinfo guest on Sunday October 18, chef Yves Camdeborde, owner of several restaurants in Paris (Le Comptoir) and Bordeaux, has the impression of “pay” for all those “who did anything” in their establishments, “who undoubtedly endangered their customers, who did not respect what was asked of them”. “It’s the people who are responsible who pay for it and it hurts our hearts”, he regrets, while Ile-de-France and eight metropolises are now subject to a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. “We will try to hold out as much as possible, by doing an evening service at 6 pm but which seems completely absurd to us”, deplores Yves Camdeborde.
franceinfo: With the introduction of the curfew, your profession is, once again, obliged to adapt in order to survive?
Yves Camdeborde: We are not scientists or doctors, so we will, once again, respect what we are asked to do, respect health standards and now the curfew. But it is true that that puts our companies all the more in danger, because we do not have many solutions. Some of my colleagues are going to have to close because they don’t have the capacity or the clientele enough to only open for lunch. And others like me, we will try to hold out as much as possible, by doing an evening service at 6 p.m. but which seems completely absurd to us.
You have restaurants in Bordeaux and in Paris, where the situations are different. How do you cope?
In Bordeaux, for the moment, we can continue the activity in a normal way, while respecting the sanitary rules. Whereas Paris is the real problem, because we have fixed charges which are very important. Our chairman [Emmanuel Macron] and Bruno Le Maire promise us aid, we hope they will keep their word, because until today we have not had much. No gesture has been made with regard to rents, no gesture has been made by insurance companies which continue to remain completely silent, which is a real scandal. The insurer Axa looks at us and totally disdains us.
Is this curfew a restaurant closure that does not speak its name, according to you?
Yes, it is a certainty. The problem is that the word “restaurant” includes a lot of things. It’s true that for gourmet restaurants like ours, closing at 9 p.m. doesn’t mean anything. We would be shut down at 5 p.m. It would be exactly the same thing. We thought we would be given the opportunity to work until 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. We are, of course, places of well-being and celebration, but we are not nightclubs or atmospheric bars, we are traditional restaurants where people behave in a very calm and calm manner. It was still a way to keep a little joy and good humor in the surrounding stagnation, so we are quite disappointed by this curfew from 9pm.
Do you feel like you are paying for everyone who did anything?
Totally. We have been fighting for years so that this profession is finally respected and that not everyone can exercise it. I can’t be a doctor or a veterinarian, I can’t be a hairdresser. I believe that to be a restaurateur, you need a minimum of knowledge and have a diploma. Today, we are paying in relation to people who do this job with a different philosophy, who have done anything, who undoubtedly endangered their clients, who did not respect what ‘we asked them, and it’s the people who are responsible who pay for it and it hurts our hearts.