A taste of nature
menu showcases the treasures of a natural, agricultural region for which Michelin-starred chef Julien Machet has always banged the drum.
The air and the aromas he breathes on a daily basis are his first source of inspiration. For Julien Machet, a diehard Savoyard and Michelin-starred chef, nature is “the very foundation” of his craft. His environment has had an unquestionably direct influence on the cuisine in Le Farçon*, his gastronomic restaurant in Courchevel La Tania. He clearly owes a debt of gratitude to his mentor Jean-Pierre Jacob who, during his first years at the ovens, continually encouraged him to “focus on simplicity to concentrate flavour”. His love of local produce was nourished from an early age by marvellous memories of recipes by Mado, his paternal grandmother. Today, Julien selects suppliers located as close to his restaurant as possible. Producers who are, just like him, deeply committed to working in harmony with the seasons, and whose approach to growing he respects. That’s why his “Italian” chard, cardoons, carrots, “fresh-picked” flat parsley, artichokes, kohlrabi, fennel and peas, have all been harvested from untreated fields grown by a local market gardener since 1985.
Many of these vegetables find their way into a bagna cauda, a Piedmontese speciality served as a starter. To complete this “dish of kings”, he also grows a wide selection of aromatic herbs, all picked fresh just before being added to the pot. When mushrooms are in season, they’re harvested in the morning and served that same evening, while the Beaufort AOP Chalet d’Alpage cheese he transforms into breadcrumbed puff pastry tarts for pre-dinner canapes, come from Tarine breed cows raised by his cousin Gaël Machet. At the end of their lives, those same hay-fed cows provide meat that gourmets would die for. Because at Le Farçon, quality comes as standard! Two fantastic examples are Yann Lartaud’s Gascon pigs at Les Rustics d’Orgeval farm, and the hazelnut oil made at the Moulin d’Aigueblanche.
Julien Machet also knows when nature needs protecting. To curb the decline of fish in the lake, he uses farmed fish selected according to strict criteria. Each of these highly considered steps are taken to help the region remain the “land of agriculture” whose praises he’s always sung. From Savoie vineyards which improve in quality and renown with each vintage, to livestock and crop farming by people “who first and foremost want to do good”. To give everybody a taste of that excellence, this summer and for much of the year, he’ll be opening Bistrot Machet. He also won’t be letting up on his efforts to connect local producers with regional chefs, planning a local travelling food supply service that he hopes to put into practice in the very near future.
Photo credit: Richard ROBERT