Located in the heart of downtown Austin, Péché has become a staple for dinner-goers craving inviting French fare and handcrafted cocktails in a non-pretentious environment.
According to Executive Chef John Lichtenberger, the restaurant plans to roll out an updated, slightly different winter menu in a few weeks’ time. The New York native says he and his team are experimenting with a Potaufeu, or a French beef stew, made with braised pork cheek, comfit belly, and beef bone marrow. A dish so decadent served in an atmosphere so inviting is the perfect combination for a memorable experience.
Time again, dishes using the freshest, locally sourced ingredients don the menu, and to learn just what goes into curating a seasonal menu perfect for those cold, winter nights, Austin Way sat down with Chef John Lichtenberger to discuss the process and love for his craft.
Roasted Cauliflower, Wild Onion, and Goat Cheese Ravioli
What does the process of creating a new, seasonal menu look like? Chef John Lichtenberger: Creating a new menu takes about a month, but [the team] is always bringing in new ideas and bouncing them off each other. We typically reach out to our vendors, like Johnsons Backyard Garden, and ask what’s going to be available and if they will be able to supply it. Then we sit down with a copy of the current menu to see what we can remove. We ask ourselves, “What doesn’t make sense anymore?” We then run the new dishes to ensure it’s well received by patrons.
Has a dish ever been dismissed or unwelcomed? If so, what happens next? JL: To be honest, things are rarely turned down. I’ve [made] these typically considered weird dishes, and people just love it. The beauty of [Péché] is that people are so open to everything we do. Sweet breads, for example, I’m so happy I can make sweet breads.
The Full Harvest Cocktail and Mac and Cheese with Duck Confit
In looking at this menu, what excites you the most? What ingredients were you most excited to use? JL: I love butternut squash and sweet potatoes. I like to roast them in the oven and make a soup out of it. Add a little nutmeg and it’s so of the season—it’s wonderful. I love kale, the heartier vegetables, and I love root vegetables.
What is your favorite dish at the moment? JL: The Lamb Bourguignon. It’s a twist on a traditional beef bourguignon, but we chose to use lamb because we love Jeff [Ruyle’s] products [from I O Ranch] so much.
Fear Fun, Belafonte, Share the Pear, and Full Harvest
In creating this menu, what is the experience you hope your guests will have? What do you hope they will walk away with? JL: I want guests to get the freshest ingredients, with as much of it as possible [being] sourced locally. I’ll tell you this: What I love about [Péché] is that you can have a single person come sit at the bar and have an amazing meal and experience, and not feel out of place. Then you can have a [table of four], and they will have the same experience at a table as the single woman at the bar.