10 Questions with Emperor Norton

Love to eat some homemade American grub, in Paris? Allow me to introduce you to the 2 man show known as Emperor Norton. Who are the 2 wizards behind the curtain? Well that would be Omid and Alannah Tavallai. It all started when Omid's company in SF asked him if he wanted to relocate to Paris. Clearly there was no hesitation. These two brave San Franciscans moved to the culinary capitol, started experimenting in their tiny kitchen, and despite the terrors of opening a business in France, set up shop and gave birth to the Emperor. Props.

How did the idea of Emperor Norton begin in Paris?
O: It all began when one night Alannah and I went to the movies and we were watching Iron Man 2. There is a scene in the film with a big Randy’s donut. Right after the movie, Alannah said to me “I want a donut!” and I agreed. Back home in California, there’s no problem to get a donut at midnight, but that’s not the case in Paris. So went home and started to make our own. It was 3:30 in the morning and we had tried 4 different recipes and we finally found one we were happy with. Gradually after that, we started experimenting and cooking different foods like tortillas and tamales from back home. We also started to host dinner parties at our home and people were interested in the food we were making and that’s kinda how it all began.

Why did you choose to call it Emperor Norton?
We started (and continue) to make things that we missed from San Francisco that you couldn't get in Paris. So we wanted a name that had a good link to San Francisco. Emperor Norton was a San Franciscan who, in the mid 19th Century went broke, went mad, and sent a proclamation to the newspaper claiming himself as Emperor of the United States (later adding Protector of Mexico).


Culinary inspirations?
Tamale lady in SF

Strangest food you have ever eaten?
O: The first time I ate fruit loops and a baloney sandwich.
A: A grasshopper cooked with a lighter at the tip of a knife. Enough said.

If you could hop on a plane and go anywhere today, where would you go?
O: Japan
A: Asia. Anywhere in Asia

Starbucks or Peet's?
O: Starbucks
A: Starbucks

Favorite processed food item?
O: Instant Noodles
A: Tortilla Chips

Biggest misconception about Paris?
O: That the food is good. People automatically assume this
A: Tradition for respect of food is bullshit!

Favorite ingredients to cook with?
O: Eggs
A: Eggs

When I hate/love everyone in Paris, this is where I go to drink my heart away!?
O: When I'm grouchy I love going to Red House, Glass, Verjus, Cave à Bulles - basically any of the booze folk we work with.
A: Red House. It makes me love the city more or hate it less!