Celebrated chefs launch home delivery service for fast food delicacy

PUBLISHED: 05:00 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:02 17 June 2020

Regis Crépy at their Amélie fast food restaurant, has not be idle during lockdown  Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Regis Crépy at their Amélie fast food restaurant, has not be idle during lockdown Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Archant

Top chefs who branched out with a revolutionary new fast food concept have launched a home delivery service to addresses across Suffolk and Cambridgeshire – and hope to take their kits nationwide.

Amélie Flamkuche flat-packs  Picture: AMELIEAmélie Flamkuche flat-packs Picture: AMELIE

Régis Crépy didn’t retire after selling up his Lavenham-based restaurant chain serving classic French cuisine in 2017. Instead he chose to jump in with chef son Alex and launch a whole new fast food business the following year.

Amélie flamkuche is based on flammekueche – a dish from the Alsace region of France, which borders Germany. It consists of a very light, thin bread dough spread with crème fraîche and topped with various ingredients of choice.

MORE – Frugal and flavoursome – how top chefs are bringing a touch of cordon bleu to fast food

The pair launched their first Amélie fast-food restaurant in the Grafton Centre, a shopping arcade in Cambridge, and started serving it to Cambridge shoppers. It has been a big hit, and the father-son team have ambitions to set up a chain of restaurants across other UK towns.

During lockdown, they had to furlough all 11 of their staff but have stayed busy by launching a delivery service enabling pre-ordered flatpacks of their dish – which they’ve dubbed “skinny pizzas” – free to any Suffolk and Cambridgeshire locations by ordering the night before. The delivery service is for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only.

Alex and Regis Crépy at their Amélie fast food restaurant which closed on March 22 and is waiting to reopen  Picture: SARAH CHAMBERSAlex and Regis Crépy at their Amélie fast food restaurant which closed on March 22 and is waiting to reopen Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

Régis said he was “delighted” to be back in the kitchen again following lockdown. As well as offering a more limited menu of their flamkuche dish along with a few other popular dishes and wine, the father-son team has also launched a new DIY flamkuche flatpack to enable customers to make their own fresh dish at home.

Each order includes Amélie’s unique dough base, lardons, crème fraiche, onions, gruyere and instructions.

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Régis and wife Martine’s Suffolk restaurant business was a firm favourite among regional diners for decades. Starting with the Great House in Lavenham, the couple branched out to create the Mariners, based on a Dutch barge on Ipswich waterfront, and the Maison Bleue seafood restaurant in Bury St Edmunds.

Amelie flam-kuche, which can now be delivered  Picture:  INDIE CAMBRIDGEAmelie flam-kuche, which can now be delivered Picture: INDIE CAMBRIDGE

Alex said they were “hungrier now than they ever have been” to expand their new business. “So far it’s going really well – every weekend is getting busier and busier,” he said.

The kits were proving very popular he said, but lockdown hadn’t been easy financially.

“At the beginning of lockdown, we weren’t really sure what was going to happen,” he said. “We couldn’t do much but we knew something was going to change in people’s minds. We had a feeling delivery would be the direction. It was a question of what we could do to hit the ground running when we reopened.”

The popularity of the service has grown hugely from word-of-mouth and social media, he said. “I think it’s really awesome – there’s nothing like it,” he said of their dish.

Chef-restaurateur Regis Crépy and son Alex launched a fast-food flammekueche restaurant, Amelie, at the Grafton Centre in Cambridge  Picture:  INDIE CAMBRIDGE

 
Chef-restaurateur Regis Crépy and son Alex launched a fast-food flammekueche restaurant, Amelie, at the Grafton Centre in Cambridge Picture: INDIE CAMBRIDGE

When they reopen the restaurant on July 4 the real challenges will begin, he said. “At the moment we are all on a financial holiday,” he said. “When we reopen we are in at the deep end and we need to swim.”

A lot of restaurants would be closing for good, he predicted, but he felt that they were in a good position to survive.

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