Lucas Bravo’s guide to the city of love is a chef’s kiss

Lucas Bravo’s guide to the city of love is a chef’s kiss | Soho House

The breakout star of ‘Emily In Paris’ visits Soho House Paris to talk life, romance and how to make the most of a mini-break in the French capital

Saturday 31 December 2022   By Emma McCarthy   Photography by Kourtney Roy   Grooming by Kelly McClain   Hair by Eduardo Bravo   Styling by Theophile Hermand   Production by Dalia Nassimi

As an Emily In Paris superfan, I have many questions for the hit Netflix show’s ‘hot chef’ Gabriel, aka Lucas Bravo. Is Sylvie as terrifying in real life? What was going through his mind when he cheated on mega babe Camille? And can I have his omelette recipe, please? But let’s start with the really important question: what does he make of TV’s rival hot chef, Carmy? 

‘Oh, I love The Bear,’ he says, after a long day shooting our cover story in and around Soho House Paris, where the French actor is a much-loved member. ‘But I just don’t think Gabriel would survive one shift in that kitchen.’

He should know, as prior to Emily In Paris, Bravo was working as a real-life chef. ‘That was my side hustle; while I was going to auditions, I was a sous chef. It’s a very similar job to acting. There’s a lot of preparation and then, action! You need to be on point, and then you’re left with that rush and the questions of what you did wrong or right. It’s a tough job.’

But thankfully for his many fans (see the 1.8 million followers on Instagram alone), Bravo traded the kitchen for the spotlight when he got the call from the show’s creator Darren Star – the brains behind Sex And The City, of which Bravo is a ‘big fan’. 

Lucas Bravo’s guide to the city of love is a chef’s kiss | Soho House

Jacket, Saint Laurent; shirt and shoes, both Bode; trousers, Valentino. 

‘The more I travel, the more I realise how lucky I am to be in Paris’

But what does he make of the small screen’s hot chef renaissance, which sees pot bellies and silly hats replaced with toned biceps and perfect white T-shirts? ‘The hat is not silly,’ Bravo corrects me. ‘Very good on a date. Honestly, it seals the deal.’ I’ll have to take his word for it. (Side note: yes, Bravo is currently seeing someone and no, they didn’t meet on set. ‘It’s my number-one rule – never date a co-star. It’s a recipe for disaster.’ Excuse his pun.)

The answer, he believes, lies in the universal truth that the way to every heart is through the stomach. ‘For me, it’s a love language. I remember my grandmother, who was deprived of so much during WWII, was always trying to feed me. Now I understand that food is love – and the better the food, the more love there is in it.’

But while there’s no doubt that the world has collectively fallen in love with Bravo/ Gabriel, he acknowledges his character is anything but perfect. ‘I knew that he was the boy next door and cheating on his girlfriend, and in my personal life I don’t excuse that. I needed to find a way to forgive him and discovered that he’s just a lost kid. So, I wanted to connect to his vulnerable side, no toxic masculinity. It’s easier to understand mistakes when you portray failures.’ 

Lucas Bravo’s guide to the city of love is a chef’s kiss | Soho House
Lucas Bravo’s guide to the city of love is a chef’s kiss | Soho House

Jacket and trousers, both Lanvin; shirt, Paul Smith, shoes (just seen), Bode.

Bravo struggled at first to adjust to his overnight fame, courtesy of the 58 million households who streamed the first series in the month following its release. ‘I had imposter syndrome and that level of visibility was hard for me to accept,’ he admits. ‘That feeling made me kind of sad and anxious. It takes time to understand that it’s just a little wave you have to surf to the best of your abilities. It started overnight and it can stop overnight, so I might as well enjoy the ride.’

Recently, Bravo’s career experienced several more highs with the release of his first two feature films in September, starring alongside Lesley Manville in the enchanting Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris, and as George Clooney’s love rival for the affections of Julia Roberts in Ticket To Paradise. Was he intimidated, going head-to-head with the most iconic hunk in the industry? ‘You would expect that, but George is the funniest, kindest guy, who’s going to do everything he can to put you in the spotlight.’ What was intimidating, however, was the kiss with Julia Roberts, which happened to be the first scene he shot. ‘I had just taken five planes to Australia and spent two weeks in COVID-19 quarantine. I had no idea who I was, but Julia made it easy.’

The son of a professional French footballer and singer, Bravo travelled a lot as a child, living in Nice, Paris, Lyon, Monaco, Marseille and Parma in Italy all before the age of 14. ‘We never lived for more than two years in a city,’ he says. ‘So, I’ve always had this new kid status.’ But he credits his nomadic early years for finessing his acting skill. ‘Each time we moved, I studied people so I would be able to fit in really quickly.’ 

Lucas Bravo’s guide to the city of love is a chef’s kiss | Soho House

‘Soho House Paris is the place to continue your night out’

Above: Jacket, shirt, trousers and shoes, all Bode.

A quick Google search will tell you that Bravo is a model. ‘Fake news,’ he laughs. ‘I did one runway when I was 16 and apparently that’s enough for me to earn the title. I didn’t like it. I was too young and too sensitive for such a cold industry with a lot of competition and not a lot of consideration.’

There’s certainly a fair share of spiky fashion types in Emily In Paris and, while the show has come under fire for its portrayal of French stereotypes, Bravo believes that such cliches – while extreme – are justified. ‘As a French person, I wasn’t offended. I think it’s funny. Nothing we do is serious. We’re not sending rocket ships to space or solving world hunger. It’s entertainment. It’s escapism. A stereotype is never born from nothing. Everything in the show is amplified because it’s Darren Star’s universe, but it’s true. French people smoke after the gym. They have breakfast wine. They complain a lot. It’s part of the charm.’

As for season three, which recently dropped, Bravo believes it’s the best one yet. ‘It’s richer, there’s more locations, more fashion, more love, more drama.’

And if that’s not enough to have you booking your Eurostar tout de suite, here’s Bravo’s guide to the city of love…

Lucas Bravo’s guide to the city of love is a chef’s kiss | Soho House

Coat, Fursac; trousers, Kolors. 

What’s your Paris must-do? 
‘The Musée d’Orsay is my favourite place in the world. Wherever you go, you have young students drawing, musicians everywhere in the streets. It’s so poetic. It’s very important what you feed your brain and when you step out of your apartment to have this kind of stimulation; it’s a gift. I think Paris makes French people better; more creative, more lovable and inclined to love. And I like that.’

Best way to explore the city? 
‘On foot; it’s a walking city. Everything’s connected. You can cross Paris by foot in about two hours.’

Best place for a candlelit dinner?
‘My favourite is Le Square Trousseau. It’s a beautiful bistro in front of a little park. It’s very traditional, yet the food is modern and the crew is so nice. Plus, it’s quiet. Silence is a luxury nowadays.’ 

Best place to continue the night?
‘Honestly, it has to be Soho House Paris. But then it’s good for breakfast, too. I had such a delicious breakfast there the other day. The food is always good.’

Best hidden gem? 
‘There’s a speakeasy in an Italian restaurant called Pink Mamma. It’s a beautiful building in Pigalle, just around the corner from Soho House Paris. You go downstairs, through the fridge where the prosciutto is hanging and behind a metal door is a tiny little bar, like it’s stuck in the 1950s, Prohibition time. It’s super cool.’

Lucas Bravo’s guide to the city of love is a chef’s kiss | Soho House

Jumper and trousers, both Salvatore Ferragamo.

‘Never date a co-star. It’s a recipe for disaster’

Best area to get lost in?
‘Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is the best. It’s this hidden park with little valleys and bridges, and a lake.

Best boutique to buy your other half something special? 
‘There’s a place I love called Harpo. It’s an old family-owned jewellery shop and they have the most beautiful stones.’

Best place to propose? 
‘Outside of Paris. You don’t want to see someone proposing in the back of your video at the same time. There’s actually a very funny scene about that in season three…’

The most ‘Paris’ thing to do in Paris?
‘Sitting by the canals and drinking with your friends, with your feet hanging above the water. Just connecting with other people. The more I travel, the more I realise how lucky I am to be in Paris. The freedom. The beauty. The culture.’

Season three of ‘Emily In Paris’ is available on Netflix now; to book a bedroom at Soho House Paris, click here.