Plateau has long stood, physically at least, above other restaurants on the Canary Wharf estate providing a natural destination for workers’ long business lunches, special occasions and lavish date nights.
For more than a decade it’s been under the ever-expanding D And D empire which has brought the likes of culinary master Allan Pickett and, most recently, Daniel McGarey to the hot seat, all bringing their own twists on modern French cuisine.
To their number comes more Gallic tradition in the form of Pierre Koffmann protege Jeremy Trehout.
No French chef has done more than Koffmann to blaze a trail through the UK culinary over the last 40 years, earning three Michelin stars and mentoring greats such as Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White and Tom Aikens in the process.
The closing of Koffmann’s At The Berkeley in December, where Jeremy was head chef, marked the end of an era and left a hole in London’s fine dining scene.
But the City’s loss is Canary Wharf’s gain as the Wapping resident moved east.
The 33-year-old has completely redesigned the menu at Plateau, presenting contemporary French dishes based on recipes and techniques learned from his mentor in pursuit of the “wow factor”.
He is well aware they have to live up to the legendary chef’s exacting standards.
“If I do something and know it’s not right I still think: ‘The Chef wouldn’t like that’. Even though I am in charge now,” said Jeremy.
“I do miss him. It was sad when Koffmann’s closed but at the same time, not working under anyone means I have been able to develop my own style.”
Classics such as lamb rump have been given a twist with black garlic and squid ink and Jeremy has had the freedom to develop his presentation.
“I want to give customers that wow factor when the dish comes out and for them to then think the food is amazing,” he said.
He worked briefly at Plateau a few years ago after he took a career break from Koffmann’s to travel. It was enough to see him hired by D And D and given free reign with the food.
His menu includes classic dishes such as beef fillet tartare with smoked yoghurt, confit egg yolk and caperberries, foie gras ballotine with quince, grape and radish, stuffed rabbit saddle with prunes, pancetta and cider jus and salted caramel tart with praline ganache and ginger ice cream.
Meanwhile, the introduction of crispy confit duck leg with white beans cassoulet delivers some bistro chic to the cheaper, less formal bar and grill.
Jeremy knows he has come a long way from his youth in Angers in western France where he went for a day’s work experience at a restaurant while struggling to find a vocation.
He fell in love with the excitement and drama.
He said: “I was so impressed by the kitchen. It was like an army.
“We would all come together every day for a meal and it felt like a family.
“Then, during service, it was another world with everybody running around and shouting.
“But what’s behind that is the team working together.
“That’s what got me, more than the food to begin with.”
After 12 hours of mostly potwashing he was offered an apprenticeship at L’Hoirie by head chef Jean-Marie Lepeltier who became like a father to him, teaching him the classic techniques of French cooking.
From there his ambition grew.
“To get where I am now in France I knew I would have to go to Paris because where I lived didn’t have many good restaurants,” said Jeremy.
“Going out for a meal is much more of a special occasion in France. The reason we all know about cooking is we grow up watching our mothers do it.
“Here there are so may opportunities because Londoners go out to eat just when they don’t feel like cooking as well as for special occasions.
“I only planned to come for one year but have now been here 13.”
Jeremy’s talents caught the attention of Koffmann and he worked under him at the Bleeding Heart in Clerkenwell.
Then he went to La Petite Maison under another of the great chef’s proteges Raphael Duntoye, before joining Koffmann’s.
“Pierre gave me my next big revelation in food,” said Jeremy.
“I learnt a hundred more things from him in the first six months than I had done in the previous six years.
“And I kept on learning, even when I was head chef.
“He never told me why he chose me. But he told me once he was hard on me because he wanted me to be a good chef one day.
“What he meant was he wanted me to know everything he knew.”
He has not plucked up the courage to invite his mentor to Plateau yet, even though he is now the boss, in charge of 20 chefs.
But he said his former boss’ voice was always in his head, helping him strive for perfection.
“People in Canary Wharf have very high standards so I’m very happy we have some regulars and have had good feedback,” said Jeremy.
“I never send out a dish I’m not happy with – that is what Pierre taught me.
“I’m nervous about him coming to try them, I’ve always been scared of his judgement.
“I don’t want to disappoint him.”
Plateau, Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5ER, 020 7715 7100, plateau-restaurant.co.uk
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