The warmth and wonder of French restaurant Brasserie Provence
By Mariah Kline
Photos by Andrea Hutchinson
In the Inaugural Bestie Awards, Voice readers voted Brasserie Provence as Best Dinner Spot and the restaurant’s Patrick Gosden as Best Chef. In a city exploding with first-class dining options and celebrated chefs, I consider this is a remarkable feat.
Until recently, I had never dined at Brasserie Provence, but when I learned that the establishment had won two coveted Besties, I had to experience it for myself. After spending an afternoon with co-owners Guy Genoud and Stacy Duncan and Chef Gosden, I understood what the hype was about.
Husband and wife team Genoud and Duncan opened Brasserie Provence six years ago. Genoud, a native of Southern France, worked in hospitality for many years before opening a place of his own.
“I was always in the food and beverage aspects of hotels,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done all my life.”
When he first opened Brasserie Provence, he had a vision of delivering a sincere and uncompromised French experience. Menus were written in French, and Genoud’s team shied away from incorporating too many Americanized dishes. As time went on, however, he took into account the more Midwestern palette of locals. Genoud and Chef Gosden – who utilize many of the recipes Genoud inherited from his mother and grandmother – have since found an ideal balance of French authenticity with southern comfort.
“We like the feel of a neighborhood bar,” Duncan says of the restaurant’s atmosphere. “We want people to feel comfortable and confident that they’ll be well taken care of.”
“In the brasserie, it’s not formal,” he explains. “You’ll have a street worker and a lawyer side-by-side. It’s very diverse. … There’s no dress code here because I think that puts a barrier between yourself and the customer.”
The word “brasserie” is French for brewery. While you won’t find brewing equipment in the space, Genoud and Duncan take the drink selections seriously. Eight to 10 times a year, the restaurant hosts wine dinners so guests can experience delectable French wines and tapas created by Chef Gosden.
“To make an investment in wine, you better like it,” Genoud relates. “It’s a way to teach people and offer them something they’ve never tasted before.”
While there, I was able to sample two entrees: the sea scallops persillade and the prime pork chop, both of which were mind-blowingly delicious. The scallops were the perfect texture and flavor. The pork chop had a lavender honey glaze that melted in my mouth and was accompanied by one of the tastiest potato dishes I’ve ever had, gratin dauphinois. Each bite was better than the last.
Chef Gosden, the creator of these edible masterpieces, studied at Sullivan University and cut his teeth at several local restaurants before joining Brasserie Provence five years ago.
“Stacy and Guy are two of the best owners I’ve ever worked for,” he says. “They bring a lot of love to it.”
Gosden is humbled by his Besties win, but his employers are not at all surprised that the community voted for him.
“It’s not just the passion that he brings to the food, but Patrick genuinely loves to nurture,” says Duncan. “It’s an extraordinary thing that he brings to the food. It really is love. It’s so sweet and lovely, and I think that adds to the whole neighborhood/family feeling we try to put out there.”
“Patrick is hands-on and he cares,” says Genoud. “I think that’s what makes a great chef. He cares about what comes out of this like it’s his own business.”
When I asked the pair why they believed their restaurant has become such a success – aside from the talents of their chef – Duncan and Genoud each pointed at one another. Both give credit to the other for making the space what it is: an inviting home where guests are fed well and treated with kindness.
Genoud likens the spirit of Southern France to the Southern United States, matching the warmth people can expect when visiting Louisville.
“No matter what country you’re in, there’s a southern hospitality,” he says. “I welcome my guests as family members and friends. That’s the spirit that we have been able to deliver here.” V
Brasserie Provence is located at 150 N. Hurstbourne Pkwy. For more information, visit brasserieprovence.com or call 502.883.3153.