Chef brings French tastes to Mundelein
Claude Boutielle, owner and chef of Taste of Paris, helps one of his regular customers, 2-year-old Elodie De Shaze,r of Mundelein, pick out a pastry. The baked goods at Taste of Paris are baked every day at 3:00a.m. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Taste of Paris
Location: 161 N. Seymour Ave., Mundelein
Contact: (847) 949-9991 or www.ourtasteofparis.blogspot.in/
Bakery hours: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday
Breakfast hours: 6 – 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday
Lunch hours: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Dinner hours: 5 – 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:02AM
MUNDELEIN — “I can do it all,” said Claude Bouteille, the chef, baker and owner of Taste of Paris, in his confident, but not cocky French accent.
Judging by the options at the three-year old French restaurant in Mundelein, you’ll find he’s telling the truth.
The breakfast menu boasts 20 items on it, highlighted by Eggs Benedict made with two poached eggs, Canadian bacon, homemade hollandaise sauce on your choice of an English muffin or a freshly baked croissant.
The croissant, he’ll tell you, is the way to go. It’s the restaurant’s specialty, made just how it is in France.
“I put a lot of love in it,” Bouteille explained. “It’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
The lunch menu is more extensive, with a section on crepes. It includes the Epinards et champignons, a traditional French hand-made crepe stuffed with spinach and mushrooms served with a rich and creamy béchamel sauce, topped with Swiss cheese.
Then there are the cakes and cookies.
Bouteille previously owned bakeries in Glencoe and Lake Forest, and worked as a chef in Chicago, before he emigrate to the United States.
He’s finally found his niche in Mundelein, the village he now calls home.
“I wanted to bring part of France here,” he said.
The 45-seat Taste of Paris, which also offers a patio, is a bakery,café and caterer. Bouteille is confident he would have been successful focusing on just one, but added that diversity is the key to survival in a lagging economy.
“We can accommodate more people by doing that,” he said. “I’m a chef, I’m a pastry guy, I’m a baker.”
His menu also includes dinner, but it isn’t always French.
For example, last month, he prepared Italian food for a Venetian night. In September, he’s planning to host a Texas barbecue night. He’s also considering a Latin night featuring Mexican food.
“Once a month we’ll do a different cuisine than France,” he said. “I want to show people we can do more than French cuisine.”
All the ingredients are fresh — during the summer he gets his produce from a farmers market — and nothing goes to waste. He explained that means there is a lot of improvising.
“I tell this kid who works for me, ‘try be a MacGyver. Make something happen,’” he said.
When he had an abundance of strawberries, he made jam.
“I utilize everything,” he explained.
But most of Bouteille’s recipes are traditional French, some were developed during his apprenticeship in France and some were handed down within his family.
He remembers being three years old and helping his mother in the kitchen when she was cooking.
“I said to my mom, ‘I want to become a chef,’” he recalled.