When we arrived from France in May 2000 to take over Café Ceres our objective was to offer our customers ‘good honest food at a good honest price’. It seemed that the UK was swamped by pub chains, American pizza restaurants and over-priced up-market eateries, where it felt like you were paying for the table linen rather than the food itself. What we really wanted was to bring just a little taste of France and its eating culture to Sheffield, while at the same time not forgetting that British café food could be great too (Jean-Paul has definitely perfected the art of the scrambled egg!).
Jean-Paul is from a ski resort in the Alps called Les Contamines and we met there when I was working as a chalet cook (I grew up in the much less romantic surroundings of Huddersfield). He trained from the age of 16 at the Chamonix catering college, specialising as a pastry chef and then worked in various restaurants both in the resort and on the south coast of France. His last post before making the brave decision to cross the Channel was as head chef at ‘Le Restaurant Le Husky‘ in Les Contamines and if you’re ever in the vicinity and need some robust fondue I thoroughly recommend a visit!
Although initially Café Ceres had to make the transition from a vegetarian coffee shop to a slightly more carnivorous eating place (try explaining to a French chef what a vegan is), we can now say that we cater for a diverse spectrum of tastes. Vegetarian dishes remain a priority, as do our breakfasts (I like a croissant don’t you but nothing I feel quite compares to a full English) and our bistro evenings have been really successful. Don’t expect too much ceremony at Café Ceres – it’s not really our thing. But we do hope our customers appreciate the homely, laidback approach which, maybe not intentionally, has become our trademark. Happily we are still going strong and although sometimes we do wonder why we ever chose the catering profession (day off anyone?) we are proud of our little restaurant and what we can offer to our very loyal customers. And we really do think we are still offering good honest food at a good honest price.