The AMEX Gets a Refresh

From Chef Antonin Wateau

Since 1979, the AMEX has been the unofficial heart of AUP. Originally dubbed “l’American Express Café,” as a school-run project that was student managed by Dan Sherry ’79, the AMEX quickly became a hub for students to quench their thirst, satiate their appetites and meet up with friends while a DJ played the most lit tracks… on a cassette player. Flip through any yearbook and you can glimpse the vibrancy coursing through AUP’s beloved café. This year, Antonin Wateau, a graduate of the illustrious cooking school Ferrandi, is bringing a new energy to the AMEX with a menu featuring a mix of old favorites and fresh, mouthwatering offerings.

Antonin is part Parisian and part Corsican. A big part of his love of food comes from the Corsican side of his heritage. “French cuisine is so varied,” he says, “but I love the cuisine of the South of France the best, with fresh tomatoes, great fish, and tons of delicious olive oil. My passion for food really is centered in the Mediterranean with all this delicious food growing in the sun.” The spices and varieties of textures and concepts he uses doesn’t just stop on the island of Corsica. He combines his love for food with his love for travel. “There are other concepts I borrow from around the Mediterranean, from Italy and Israel as well as Morocco and Spain. I love to travel, so whenever I am somewhere I’ve never been before and am greeted with new spices, flavors and smells, I try to incorporate the best of it in the plates that I prepare.” Seasonal ingredients and these fusion concepts taken from around the world are the base of Antonin’s vision for the AMEX.

I really want to have students feel comfortable and to create a cozy environment for student events. I also want to make it more inviting for staff and faculty so the whole community feels at ease and so that the Amex becomes a real place of exchange.

Antonin Wateau

After his studies at Ferrandi here in Paris – one of the world’s most renowned cooking schools, where he learned terroir and the art of French cooking while being taught by some of the top chefs in France – Antonin worked in a few brasseries, honing his passion for fusion food, and even worked at Balagan, prized by Parisian gastronomes as one of the most flavorful environs in all of the city, just steps away from the Tuileries Gardens.

Though Antonin is bringing in an exciting new concept to the AMEX, he’s careful to maintain the root of what makes it such a special place for our University. Delicious new dishes will be fused with classic favorites and there will always be a welcoming space for all of AUP. “I really want to have students feel comfortable and to create a cozy environment for student events. I also want to make it more inviting for staff and faculty so the whole community feels at ease and so that the AMEX becomes a real place of exchange. The idea is to keep it always casual, always friendly and always fresh.”

Starting this semester, there will be three different themed menus: Activate Your Day, Your Fresh Alternative and Experience Your AMEX. These themes were decided with the ideas of health, community and a student’s active daily life in mind. It’s a fusion of American and French cuisine with an international vibe that reflects our global explorers, a healthy mix of favorites (like the AMEX burger), a few sandwiches and a new salad bar. A number of breakfast options will also be on offer, including breakfast wraps, croissants and pain au chocolat. In addition, Antonin is also expanding the coffee options for those in need of a caffeine fix with new to-go coffee options. The coffee is a Brazilian Arabica from a small plantation in Carmo de Minas featuring fruity notes that lend a soft, tropical taste that blends with chocolate and hazelnut – the perfect accompaniment for those in need of a quick pick-me-up just before or after class.

On television, the AMEX will broadcast popular sporting matches, like NBA basketball and Champions League football matches, while at night it will be possible to watch movies on the big screen and to organize open mic nights, karaoke nights, quiz nights and even afternoons where you can learn how to cook French cuisine on a student budget with the chef!

To find out more about the AMEX, explore catering options for your event, or arrange a cooking class, email Antonin ( or just stop by the AMEX to say bonjour.

The AMEX Cafe is located on the ground floor of the Combes Building (6, rue du Colonel Combes, Paris, 75007) and is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm.