Stars in their Eyes
France is the home of the Michelin Star and some say the home of gastronomy. Which is ironic seeing as though Michelin is actually a tyre company.
Michelin launched their first guidebook in 1900 to encourage road tripping in France. They then began anonymously reviewing restaurants for inclusion in their guidebooks in 1926 using a 3 star system.
There are ski resorts in France that have Michelin starred restaurants. Courchevel has 11 stars in total; the Chamonix area has the same. Could Morzine and Les Gets be set to join them in the ranks of posh nosh?
Michelin in Morzine
Alexandre Baud-Pachon has literally grown up at the Hotel Le Samoyede in Morzine – his grandfather built the hotel 40 years ago. The 36 year old Head Chef has always been inspired by the culinary arts and his passion has taken him to work in some of the most renowned and highest rated restaurants in France.
A Michelin star is a personal objective for Alexandre – he makes no effort to deny that. Indeed from his CV it would seem that Michelin stars are the only standard Alexandre knows. ‘It would be a great reward for my team and it would really put Morzine on the map I think’. Last year, after an anonymous inspection by Michelin, the feedback was very positive.
L’Atelier restaurant at Le Samoyede is always very busy – regular diners book tables weeks in advance. So how does Alexandre manage to juggle the quality and consistency required for a Michelin Star with the volume of hungry diners each evening? ‘Guest satisfaction is actually my main focus. The nature of our business is very seasonal so we have to make sure that the 80 – 90 people who dine in our restaurant each evening leave happy. And if one of those just happens to be a Michelin inspector, then that’s fine, I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best!’
For more information on Hotel Samoyede and Restaurant L'Atelier visit their website.
Michelin in Les Gets
Alan White is the Head Chef at Ferme de Montagne and describes his ambition to achieve a Michelin Star as the reason why he gets out of bed each morning. It’s the gold medal of cuisine after all. But Alan is realistic about things. ‘If you let Michelin drive you it will ultimately hold you back. No one really knows what Michelin inspectors look for so I try to cook what I like to eat, which is normally what our guests enjoy too.’
Alan is a unique breed – a self-taught chef, his big break came when he was appointed to the much sought-after role of Head Chef at Edinburgh Castle. During his time at Ferme de Montagne he’s been on several ‘stages’ (think work experience, but for Chefs) at Michelin starred restaurants in the UK such as Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons with Raymond Blanc and Gleneagles with Andrew Fairlies. ‘I’d be happy to be half as good as either of them!’
But what impact would a Michelin star at Ferme de Montagne have on Les Gets as a resort? It’s likely to put the village on the radar of food lovers from the surrounding cities of Geneva and Annecy. There could also be more financial investment in the resort and Alan believes it could encourage others to open fine dining restaurants in the area.
So how does Alan describe his own food? ‘It’s the question every Chef dreads! I like to evolve and use many different styles of cuisine in my cooking. From Japanese to Scottish methods, I do everything with the discipline of French cookery!’
For more information on Ferme de Montagne visit their website.
In any holiday resort it’s important that there are a range of different dining options to suit everyone’s tastes and wallet and Morzine certainly has an excellent, varied mix. But wouldn’t it be great if Morzine and Les Gets became part of the culinary elite?