A new experimental restaurant Le Présage in Château-Gombert, a district in the north of Marseille, France, is using the power of the sun to cook. Rather than your regular industrial ovens, the restaurant, founded by Pierre-André Aubert, relies on unique technology to channel the sun’s energy, using the renewable source to cook up some delicious local food.
1. How it works
Le Présage restaurant has no gas and very little electricity, instead it depends on the sun, greatly reducing its carbon footprint. A large two metres diameter dish covered with Schaeffer mirrors, a prototype of a German company, helps channel the sun’s heat, and while the mirror may have existed for more than 50 years, “Le Présage” is the first to employ this in its cooking, becoming Europe’s first solar restaurant. This dish, pointed at the sun, reflects its rays towards a hearth located in the back kitchen, then towards a cast iron plate which can reach temperatures of up to 300 degrees in about twenty minutes. Solar-powered ovens are then used alongside this to cook the dishes on offer at this unique restaurant.
2. Tasty yet suitable recipes
Of course it is necessary to be sensible with the energy generated, so the tasty recipes used here are created with efficient energy consumption in mind. There is a focus on foods which require minimal energy to cook, but which naturally still taste delicious, and to further lower the carbon footprint the recipes use local products, including those grown on site. However should there be a cloudy day, there are also electric hotplates to use as a back up, so people don’t go hungry.
3. A unique setting
The area of Marseille Provence is an ideal location for such an inventive restaurant, as there are two major engineering schools, École Centrale and Polytech Marseille, and according to the City of Marseille this area is the leading French research centre in mechanics and energy after Paris. The restaurant kitchen itself is located in a container, with customers having the choice to sit under the metal structure of a poly tunnel or on the grass.
4. Future plans
Le Présage continues to change, exploring ways to further lower its carbon footprint, such as developing a system for recovering the methane produced by restaurant waste, or reusing filtered cooking water to irrigate the land. In the future, Le Présage hopes to open similar establishments, including a restaurant on the grounds of Château-Gombert, a project estimated to be €1.8 million and based around a bioclimatic building as well as a garden providing ingredients.