For thousands of high school students, students and young working people in Paris, Victor Habchy is the person behind “The ultimate guide” to street food. Since 2020, this jack-of-all-trades photography enthusiast has been unearthing and sharing the best addresses in the capital on social networks. The immediate success of a restaurant that makes burgers for less than 3 euros (the aptly named “Mangez et casse-vous”, rue Alexandre Dumas, in the XIe district), it’s him. The crowd around a kebab vendor who offered free “solidarity sandwiches” in March 2021, forcing the police to intervene, is also him. Like the popularity of this tiny and chic Japanese boui-boui with delicious bentos hidden away on rue Charles-François-Dupuis, in the IIIe borough.
Donuts, pasta, bubble tea, ramens, falafels, brunches and meats of all kinds, ice cream and even more recently, without laughing, a delicious… Quebec poutine, elected world champion in its category! Victor Habchy, who is surfing on the expansion in the capital of an international and inventive street food, shares addresses that he has tested and adored. He found in social networks a perfect relay. He has more than 300,000 followers aged 20 to 35 on his “The Ultimate Guide to Paris” page on Instagram, and 1.5 million, even younger, on the TikTok page vito.video – where he originally rose to fame by sharing videos of his travels. Last December he also released a book, The Ultimate Guide to Paris (Hachette), which lists 130 addresses where you can eat for a reduced price.
How do you explain the success of your street-food videos with young people?
Street-food is part of pop culture, like music, dance or theatre. And I believe that, by testing new addresses, it is in fact an experience that young Parisians are looking for, as if they were going to the cinema. So when we offer them to be the guide of these addresses…
My role and my pleasure is to unearth for them small craftsmen who have merit and may need this visibility. I spend a good part of my days searching the Internet and wandering around Paris to chat with restaurant owners and taste their dishes.
One of your latest finds?
I recently shared a video about an absolutely delicious Japanese restaurant, it’s only 4 square meters and only opens on Wednesdays! Being a little surprised is what people are looking for, especially young people. I note a continuous interest in foreign food, which makes it possible to travel, to go elsewhere. Young people need it, especially for two years. Hence also, I imagine, the success of my travel videos, in Asia, or even very recently in Mexico and the United States.
How did you become an influencer?
I grew up in Picardy, in a family of teachers. After the baccalaureate, my taste for economics led me, somewhat for convenience, to study economics. In my free time, I devoted myself to my passion, photography, sharing my work with more and more people, on Facebook at the time. Then I was spotted by Sony with whom I did a great photo project in 2014 at the Burning Man festival in the United States. This gradually led me to video and then directing, with a feature film released on YouTube in 2018.
In 2019, I undertook a cycling trip in Asia, between China and Bali, during which I published stories on Instagram, but in a fairly confidential setting. After the first confinement of 2020, I decided to tell my trip on TikTok by reposting my videos. It worked right away and quite unexpectedly: 150,000 subscribers on day one and 8 million views. In the most viewed video, I told how a dog had followed me on a large part of my journey. I then quickly began to publish videos on my second passion, street-food, by sharing good Parisian addresses on the Instagram account @leguideultime. The one on a restaurant of the XIe district which makes burgers at 2.70 euros has worked very well, like the following ones since. I do not charge these brands for the advertising I do for them, but I pay myself on paid subscriptions to my site, which allows subscribers to benefit from reductions in Parisian restaurants.