Chef Jean-Marie Cadot: All in the Family

Categories: Interviews

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Jean-Marie Cadot
Jean-Marie Cadot, 43, of the Cadot Restaurant, is like a chef character out of a beautiful French film or novel, dashing and ridiculously well-versed in all things culinary. It's almost as if he couldn't have turned out to be anyone or anything else. No wonder. The Cadot family has been in the restaurant and baking business since 1758.

"My mother was born and raised in Hotel Bristol. Her father [Cadot's grandfather] built it," Cadot explains. "My great, great grandfather opened Le Boeuf a la Mode in 1800." Brasserie Mollard, le Londres in Versailles, and La Caravelle in New York are also family businesses. Cadot's grandfather and father were both bakers. And Cadot himself has been cooking and baking ever since he was a child.

"My grandmother bought me my first cooking book and I roasted my first chicken at age 9," Cadot explains. "We had a house in the countryside 35 minutes from Paris to the west. We were raising rabbits, chicken, ducks, guinea fowl, and we had a vegetable garden. I was hunting with my dad by age 7 or 8. I learned to prepare game at early age. By 14 I was doing it all." And every weekend his family would have at least 12 people gathered around their family table for dinner.

So, once he was of age, Cadot went off to cooking school. And the rest, as they say, is incredibly delicious history. After graduating from Ferrandi Cooking School and the Grands Moulins de Paris Baking and Pastry School, Cadot became an apprentice at Lasserre Paris.

His culinary resume is as long as his culinary pedigree. He became a seasonal pastry chef for L'auberge des Deux Sygnes, seasonal chef for Laurent, seasonal sous chef for Mercure Galant, seasonal chef at Royal Evian, chef at Potel et Chabot catering company, pastry chef at Pierre's Country Bakery, Sous chef at Calluaud's, sous chef at La Panetiere, temporary executive chef at La Caravelle, executive chef at Lavendou, consultant for Lavendou's sister restaurant Olea Mediterranean Cuisine et Tapas, executive chef for the openings of Pescabar and Cibus, and finally executive and owner of Cadot.

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The first thing you notice when you walk into Cadot Restaurant is the amazing aromas of all the dishes being cooked in the kitchen and served in the dining room. The restaurant is full on a Wednesday afternoon and cozy despite the chill outside. Paintings done by Cadot's mother fill the walls. "People appreciate the old pictures and the history. It's more than just a restaurant," Cadot says. And when I watch him visit the tables, customers seem genuinely delighted to see him.

"Customers tell me the ambiance is always good here. Always consistent. They thank me for that." Cadot explains. "Of course, you always have some people who come in with an attitude. But that is difficult no matter what you do. Whatever you do is never right. My philosophy is to give them a glass of wine right away and tell them a day with no wine is a day with no sunshine."

Cadot enjoys working in his Far North Dallas location, though he admits he grows tired of folks who seem snobbish about going to restaurants north of LBJ. One of his favorite places in Plano is Urban Crust. "I went last week and fell in love with the pizza. My wife went crazy and went by herself. My partner is crazy for the pizza.... Everything [they do] has great flavor."

The same can be said for Cadot's food. Everything I ate had wonderful flavors. Duck confit springs rolls, which were ridiculously light and crisp and served with a sweet and syrupy apricot orange sauce. The lemon sole, Cadot's version of fish and chips with light crispy fish and skinny fries. Chocolate lava cake with vanilla custard, so pretty on the plate served with raspberries, which were especially delicious in the hot fudge that oozed from the center of the cake.

The menu is a surprising mix of classic French and modern American, and even includes hamburgers. He serves a bar menu complete with grilled cheese sandwiches. His goal, he says, is to give customers the best version of want they want.

Plus, he adds, "I opened Lavendou, and they still have the same menu. I didn't want to put on some of the same stuff because I didn't want the same as up the street. So I do some things like French onion soup on special. I get so many requests for it. Finally, I give up. But it took me six or eight months to give in. I did not give in right away."

One of Cadot's sons works at the restaurant as a host or busboy on occasion. "Sometimes if I ask him to work he says, 'As a host or a busboy?' I say, "A busboy.' He says, 'Why not as a host? You already have so and so and so.' And I say, 'I don't ask you who I have. I'm asking, can you work or not work?' [Cadot laughs.] He's 18 and 6-foot-5-inches. My other son is 16. I remember still them being little. I look at them now and say, 'Shoot. Where does the time go?'"

You can imagine Cadot's father saying the very same thing. You can also imagine him being very proud. How could he not be? The Cadot legacy continues.

Location Info

Cadot

18111 Preston Road, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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6 comments
Jean-Marie Cadot
Jean-Marie Cadot

@ Roger Williams - The pictured photo in the article was from the 1960's. It is a picture of the Restaurant/Bakery in Paris. The location was on Rue D'Antin & Rue Danielle Casanova just off of Avenue de L'opera. It was situated quite close to Place Vendome. You can find a few more old pictures on the Restaurant's Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

G_David
G_David

Wow, with an amazing bio like that, it's kind of a shame he's stuck in Dallas. And as aawesome as I'm sure the restaurant is, I'm one of those snobs that rarely travels north of N.W. Highway, much less 635.

Roger Williams
Roger Williams

Where is the Cadot restaurant in the old photograph you have published?I have a hobby collecting tales about hotels called Bristol. A short story about Jean-Marie's grandfather's famous Paris hotel can be read online: http://hotelbristolstory19pari...

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

As a very middle-class suburban kid from NJ, I have wonderful memories of making trips into NYC to be treated to wonderful dinners at La Caravelle by my visitidng Aunt and Uncle. The restaurant was a very special place and I was sad to see it close. What I recall is sitting in those sumptious banquets, the place aglow, people enjoying themselves and the excellent food and service. It was par-excellance. My favorites: crab cocktail, tomatoe soup, and chocolate souffle's. Especially nice was the the cozy bar tucked into the corner and the elderly bartender who had been there many many years.

Thanks to your family for the many memories at La Caravelle.

CitizenKane.Dallas, TX

Thanks to your family for the great memories.

Genslay
Genslay

"Why?" is the only response appropriate for your post. Why is it a shame Chef Cadot is stuck in Dallas and why are you snobbish about traveling north of the loop? If Chef Cadot wasn't "stuck in Dallas", we probably wouldn't have the opportunity to savor his amazing food. And, as a former Lakewood resident, I can tell you from experience that your prejudices and pretentiousness is simple ignorance of all the metroplex has to offer outside of the loop. Drive north 20 minutes and experience the greatness of Cadot for yourself. You won't be disappointed (even though I'm sure you will probably pretend to be disappointed).

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