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Christoph Juville x Closed Christoph Juville x Closed

Close up w/ Christophe Juville

If you want to catch up with Christophe, you’ve got to be quick. Always on the go, staying one step ahead of everyone else, the French chef, entrepreneur and owner of almost 50 restaurants has been shuttling between Paris and Marseille for years, while breathing life into his new business ventures.

Luckily, we had the chance to meet the creative businessman in Marseille and learned a ton about the culinary world from him. And not just that – he also knows all the coolest spots in Marseille.

Christoph Juville x Closed
Christoph Juville x Closed

“You need to be willing to take risks, because without that you cannot move forward.”

Christoph Juville x Closed
Christoph Juville x Closed

The
interview

Christophe, how did your professional career and the development of your restaurant brand Spok begin?

After earning my diploma in cooking, I worked in different restaurant chains before opening my own places. I started with two temporary restaurants at Galeries Lafayette in Marseille in the year 2005 and then put everything into opening my first Spok venue shortly after that.

Today you own 11 restaurants in Marseille and 9 more in Paris. What did it take for you to become such a multi-entrepreneur?

Working hard, being passionate, and attending meetings are my leitmotifs in life. I’m always 15 minutes ahead of my competitors. 30 minutes are too much, but just 15 minutes are enough to be a “visionnaire“.

Your own fast-food franchise Spok, with over 50 locations, is a huge success in France. What exactly is the idea behind Spok?

In a society where “fast” has to go hand in hand with “good”, Spok reinvents the lunch break. We are mixing the codes of traditional catering – cooked by a chef with fresh produce – with those of fast food to come up with a creative, healthy and tasty ready-to-eat offer. Since 2005, Spok has been supporting a wide range of franchisees in professional reconversion around a proven concept. After several years of development in Marseille, Spok now has more than 50 franchise restaurants throughout France.

You also own other restaurants, such as the Lolo Bistro in Paris, Figure and Ippon in Marseille: can you walk us through the process of creating a new restaurant, from concept to execution?

First of all, you have to know how to surround yourself with the right partners and associates – this can be learned over time. Then you need to find the concept and the right idea. It is essential to feel the trends, especially in our business. You need to have a certain amount of nerve and conviction. In order to launch a successful project, you need a good network of partners, suppliers and entrepreneurs, and you need to be willing to take risks, because without that you cannot move forward. At the end you have to show a lot of resilience, because whether you are an entrepreneur at heart or not – this is something you can’t learn.

How do you follow the latest food trends and how do you integrate them into the creation of your own recipes?

I go out a lot. Whether it’s in Paris or in Marseille. Also, I travel whenever I can afford it. My next destination will be Japan, where I’ve been around 20 times. I go there alone to recharge my batteries, get inspired and simply breathe! This disconnection is very important for me, as it allows me to take a step back from my projects. I come back even stronger with lots of ideas in my head that I share with my teams when I return.

What do you think is the most important skill for a cook to have, and why?

In my opinion, curiosity is the key. Chefs have to feed off what’s happening around them. They should draw inspiration from their surroundings, travel, connect with fellow cooks, share their knowledge and constantly adapt to their environment.

What’s always in your fridge and pantry at home to whip up a quick dinner for your family?

Pasta, Parmesan cheese, Pecorino, good olive oil and garlic. A simple and effective recipe!

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in opening their own restaurant?

To succeed, you must persevere, be passionate, and learn how to surround yourself with good people.

How do you manage your time and prioritize your projects with multiple businesses to run?

I live between Paris and Marseille. For my Spok restaurants, I have teams working on communication, cooking, and management on a daily basis. We have a meeting on Monday morning to talk about current and future issues, but after that I leave them to do their job. In terms of Lolo, Figure and Ippon, I go there every day when I’m in Paris or Marseille.

As someone who is always dedicated to new ideas - what other projects would you like to work on in the future?

I would like to open a small traditional Italian café which opens very early in the morning.

You live on a roof terrace with your family, just a few steps from the beach. There seems to be a great deal of value in your furnishings as well. Do you remember which influences you had when decorating your home?

I was lucky to meet Marseille gallery owner Roger Pailhas, who was a customer at my first restaurant. He taught me about contemporary art. Today I am lucky to own some beautiful pieces, including a sofa signed by Pierre Paulin, works by the young and talented Axel Chay, works by my ceramicist friends from “Des céramiques de France“, where I sometimes even pot myself, illustrations by Juliette Lambert, and photographs by Charlotte Lapalus and Vincent Dessailly.

What are some of your go-to destinations in Marseille - including anything from local shops and cafes to museums and spots in the nature?

Explore Marseille with Spok, Figure, and Ippon! Start your day with a stroll along the Corniche. Take a refreshing dip at the Cercle des Nageurs. Satisfy your appetite by nibbling on delicious treats at the newly opened Cécile’s downstairs. Indulge in some retail therapy at Jogging, a must-visit store. Recharge with a cup of coffee at Deep, then head to La Relève for a drink. For dinner, try out my new favorite spot, Amoro, a fantastic canteen in Marseille. Unwind the next day by the water at Tuba.

What’s the deal with Marseille? What makes it so cool and unique in your opinion?

Let’s start with the light, which is one of a kind and unique. Unlike Paris, the welcome here is always warm! Marseille is my haven of peace where I can still find my childhood friends and my house by the sea, where sunrises and sunsets transcend me. The social diversity is very present and very inspiring. It feeds me every day, especially for my passion of photography. Marseille is unique!

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Christoph Juville x Closed

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Christoph Juville x Closed
Christoph Juville x Closed

“I’m always 15 minutes ahead of my competitors. 30 minutes are too much, but just 15 minutes are enough to be a ’visionnaire’.”

Christoph Juville x Closed
Christoph Juville x Closed