Chef Denis Rion started his culinary education in 1983 at a well established technical institute in Thonon-les-Bains, France. After working in Vevey and Montreux, Switzerland, he moved to California and continued his apprenticeship in the restaurant industry managing dinning rooms, or heading kitchens, including Tuscany Ristorante in Westlake Village. He then opened Nounou’s Restaurant in Camarillo in 1996, and later expanded to Matteo’s Trattoria in Camarillo in 1999.
Denis specializes in preparing traditional foods, and enjoys creating new French and Italian dishes using fresh, often local, quality ingredients. He relies on a simple formula: maintain strict standards in choosing the products that are ordered and delivered. He is very focused and extremely involved in all of the daily operation of his restaurant, from selecting a balanced wine list, to overlooking the preparation, cooking and tasting almost every dish to be served.
During the last few years, he has developed a better understanding of food sensitivities to gluten, dairy, and eggs and the complications it might present to some patrons. Cigale Cafe will try to accommodate such needs in presenting a detailed allergens menu upon request. The kitchen staff will do its best to make the necessary changes to certain dishes, without altering the taste, so that everyone can fully enjoy memorable times.
Chef Denis remarks “Over the years I have been fortunate to build a subsequent following, I have met amazing people and have started life-long friendships. I am looking forward to continuing on this path, putting my knowledge, experience, and skills to the test to provide exquisite food, and great service to the Oak Park community and its surroundings.”
See you at Cigale Cafe!
The Cigale is a symbol of the south of France (Ciccada in English). It represents welcome and good fortune. People in the South place hand painted ceramic figurines of this insect on their front porch or next to the front door of their house. The true charm of the cigale lies in its association with summer, hot sunny days, rest and relaxation. That is the time the insect rubs its wings together to create a vibrant melody.
Our goal is to provide our customers with a representation of what a Cigale means: a welcoming experience filled with comfort, quality and fun.
Jean de LaFountaine, author of “TheTurtoise and the Hare” immortalized the Cigale in one of his fables “La Cigale et la Fourmi” where the Cigale passes the glorious days of summer in song:
|The Cigale and the Ant
(La Cigale et la Fourmi)
The Cigale, having sung
all summer long,
found herself most destitute,
when the North Wind came.
Not a morsel to her name
of either fly or worm.
She blurted out her tale of want
to her neighbour Mistress Ant,
And begged her for a loan
of grain to last her
Till the coming Spring
“I shall pay you”, were her words,
“On insect oath, before the Fall,
interest and principal.”
Mistress Ant is not a lender -
that’s the last thing to reproach her with!
“Tell me how you spent the summer?”
was what she asked the borrower.
“Night and day, to every comer,
I sang, so please you ma’am.”
“You sang? I’m delighted.
Now off you go and dance!”