Tucked away just off the seafront, you will find Petit Pois, a French restaurant run by David and his wife, Ivana. This is David’s story.
“I trained as a chef in France, mostly Michelin-starred restaurants: L’auberge de l’Eridan (Annecy 3*); le Domaine de Bournissac (Provence 1*) and Le Pastel (Toulouse 1*) After travelling in several countries, I decided to give it a go in England to discover a new lifestyle. And to improve my English.
“My first job was in The French Horn, a French restaurant in Sonning on Thames with 2 AA Rosette. It was there that I met Ivana who was working there as a waitress. Ivana is from Slovakia, and has a degree in hospitality. We spent a year in Sonning and then decided to move to Brighton.
“Initially I worked as sous chef at Havana restaurant (now called N32) in Duke Street for 2 years while Ivana was assistant manager at the (now closed) Strada restaurant.
“A few years later, I was offered the position of executive head chef of Riddle & Finns in Meeting House Lane and there I spend the last six and half years of my life. Later, Ivana joined me there as front of house manager.
“During that time, we were working on a project of opening our own place. Property prices in Brighton being very high and lots of new restaurants and cafes opening all the time, it took us about three years to find the right spot.
“We could see that in Brighton there was a huge range of restaurants: Asian, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and many others. But very few offering French cuisine. It was the obvious choice to go for a French restaurant, but with a twist. At Petit Pois, we offer ragoût de joue de porc (pork-cheek stew) as our own version of bœuf bourguignon and celeriac dauphinoise instead of the standard pommes de terre [potatoes] dauphinoises.
“So here we are. We opened on the 9th of June 2017 and I’m delighted to say that feedback has been amazing so far.”
Bonne chance, David et Ivana.
Petit Pois restaurant, 70 Ship Street, Brighton: http://petitpoisbrighton.co.uk/