Paris: Fashionable Juice and Vegan Cafe Ready for PFW

Café Maisie Photo by Claire Israēl Xavier Barrouxa and Isabella Capece Photo by Leo Paul Ridet

By Benedetta Pignatelli | Travel
Posted Aug 28, 2017

While America has been routinely besotted with literary tales of impossibly alluring French women adopting no-deprivation diets (French women don’t get fat by Mireille Guilliano, et all) an Italian transplant inspired by American wellness advocates has now opened a vegan Café in the entrails of gourmande Paris.

Such is the journey of Isabella Capece, a fashion dynamo and director of communications at Berluti, whose Maisie Cafe (32 Rue du Mont Thabor) has already been baptized by Carine Roitfeld, Gaia Repossi, Christian Louboutin and Jean Pigozzi among others. Yet, whilst grateful for her luxe sametribers support, Capece wants to create a lasting shift in all Parisian’s saturated diets.

“I have embraced a dairy-free lifestyle 10 years ago after a an inflammation scare.”-says Capece- “Then I moved on to raw and cold-pressed juices, then veganism 3 years ago and gluten-free 1 year ago. It was an organic process. But I am not draconian, if someone comes here for a vegan break twice a week (which a lot of people do) I consider it a success. It’s about offering alternatives that can be integrated in pre-existing lifestyles, not about reprogramming people.”

Capece, who opened CM with her husband and business partner Xavier Barroux, was initially inspired by 2 American wellness totems: Gwyneth Paltrow and her book It’s All Good and Moon Juice Cookbook by Amanda Chantal Bacon. She then decided to act on her self-help regulations and open Maisie Café, a name inspired by the Henry James tome What Maisie Knew a gift from her mother at age 13.

“That book struck a chord, my mother gave it to me to quench what she called my semi-permanent and highly misguided perception of being an unfortunate, miserable child. The tale of Maisie (an actually unfortunate child plagued by divorce foibles) really brought the point home. I wanted to choose a personal name for the café, I used the same process I would to name a pet.”

Another point that Capece likes to stress is that Maisie Café is acutely aware of preserving wealth of flavors in its food and maintaining a distinctly European flair in its recipes.

“Let’s face it, this is Paris, people are used to rich, tasty foods, and I am a gourmande at heart (healthy bruschetta is a favorite) so we like to offer gluten free Italian focaccia stuffed with eggplant caviar for our sandwiches, Italian Panna Cotta, made with coconut milk and Agar Agar (an algae-based vegan gelatin), as well as revisited French dessert staples such as riz au lait (made with cooked rice, nut milk, nutmeg and organic maple syrup). We also utilize a lot of spices from Lebanon and India to make for additional taste support. Vegan shouldn’t be a deal breaker.”

Maisie also presents extensive juices, nut shakes and Mexican Agua Frescas, rich in chia seeds, Omega 3 and minerals. Capece, who was initially surprised by the number of men and catering orders that came into the Café, follows her own daily diktats of yoga in the am, marine magnesium (helps with sleep and jetlag), seawater, colloidal silver (natural antibiotic), avocado toast, maca, spirulina and cashew nut milk. Capece is hopeful that Maisie can introduce a non-punitive wellness alternative to France’s hedonistic culinary tradition. The Maisie team has already set its sights on a second location in Paris and a future US partnership expansion, in either Los Angeles or Palm Springs.

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