At the Parisian restaurant Le Faham, haute cuisine mingles with the distinctive flavors of Réunion Island.

By Caitlin Raux Gunther
May 17, 2021
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"The culinary traditions of France's overseas territories are part of French cuisine—and people tend to forget that," says Kelly Rangama, the chef and co-owner of Le Faham, in Paris's Batignolles neighborhood. Last year, the restaurant—which she founded with her husband, pâtissier Jérôme Devreese—became the world's first Michelin-star recipient to celebrate the cooking of Réunion, the Indian Ocean island where Rangama was raised. "My father loved to cook," she says, "so Réunionnais flavors are very much in my blood."

Here's how she's bringing both worlds to every bite.

Chef Kelly Faham in the kitchen of her Le Faham restaurant in Paris
Le Faham’s chef and co-owner, Kelly Rangama.
| Credit: Julie Limont/Courtesy of Le Faham

Add Some Island Heat

"Réunion cuisine has Indian and Chinese influences. Because of this, Parisians assume that our food will be too strong or too hot. But we carefully calibrate the spices so they don't overwhelm the senses."

Fuse Flavors

"We're always incorporating Réunion ingredients. For instance, during mushroom season, we'll combine porcini with essential oils from the rose geranium plant, which adds a light, aromatic quality.

A beef and lemon dish at Le Faham restaurant in Paris
Aged beef with ravioli filled with spicy lemon rougail, a Réunionnais condiment made from tomatoes and chili peppers.
| Credit: Marie Etchegoyen/Courtesy of Le Faham

Special Ingredients

"We import turmeric and massalé, as well as Bourbon vanilla. And once a year we get a shipment of the extremely rare faham orchid after which our restaurant is named. It adds caramel notes when churned into ice cream or infused in rum-based cocktails." 

lefaham.com; prix fixe from $79.