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'Bistronomy' is Conquering Dining in Paris

Paris: Something has changed at those simple, inexpensive, often boisterous bistros that made Paris the world's capital of culinary tourism - the food. //

The reason is that a number of young chefs, fresh from their apprenticeship with haute cuisine masters, today prefer to exercise their talents in the casual atmosphere of a bistro, rather than face the expense, pressure and fierce competition of vying for a Michelin star.

As a result, fewer Paris bistros are today a destination for people who want "relaxed, restorative, everyday chow," as the late RW Apple once described it.

Instead, you can now enjoy such dishes as haddock carpaccio a l'orange and juniper, veal kidney fricassee and salsify with gingerbread, and truffle ice cream, but in a casual bistro atmosphere and usually for only 28 to 45 euros ($37 to 60) for a three-course menu.

The phenomenon has been given an unofficial name, bistronomy, combining the words "bistro" - a traditional synonym for casual, inexpensive dining - and "gastronomy," which the website epicurious.com defines as "the art of fine dining; the science of gourmet food and drink."

The man generally credited with developing this marriage of culinary cultures is 42-year-old Yves Camdeborde, who spent 10 years working with chef Christian Constant at the two-star Les Ambassadeurs restaurant in the swank Hotel Crillon in Paris. When Camdeborde struck out on his own, at age 28, he quickly realized that he did not have the financial means to match his grand culinary ambitions. So he took over a modest bistro in the 14th arrondissement of Paris and, out of necessity, decided to serve his elegantly prepared dishes in a casual ambience and at affordable prices.

"Two people were able to come with a 500-franc bill (76.2 euros, about $99) and leave with change," he said.

And his philosophy remained that of a master chef: "Cooking is very simple. It is above all the r
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