Ronan Kervarrec : the French Britanny at its finest core
- French Star chef based at Saison
- Cuisine based on local products and the seasons
- Les Grandes Tables du Monde
More 1 star chefs here. Other French chefs here.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
A love of the job conjugated with the experience in the biggest houses, work as closely as possible with local products and the seasons, creativity with finess, a sense of shared pleasure, so many talents that Ronan Kervarrec puts to the service of the Hostellerie de Plaisance today.
In the end of June, 2016, Chef Ronan Kervarrec, 46 years, took up his post at the stoves of the Hostellerie de Plaisance. He occupied since 2013, the post of executive chef of the gourmet restaurant (where he continued to make both his stars shine) and all the kitchens of the Chateau de la Chèvre d’Or in the Èze-Village, between Nice and Monaco, also a 5-star hotel, member of the Relais and Chateaux and “Grandes Tables du Monde”.
“By coming to Saint Emilion, I get closer to the Atlantic Coast and to my Breton family. I also have the pleasure to come to work besides the Perse family who knows how to communicate their energy and their will to move forward. With an objective: involve me as a boss and not only as a leader, for the success of the Hostellerie de Plaisance and the whole team.” The same team in the kitchen and in the restaurant which largely contributed to the fame of this establishment, among them Guillaume Bouillier, Head Waiter, and Benoit Gelin, the Head Wine Waiter.
Child borned in the profession
“I was born in this job or almost and I admitted to do it with passion.” From an early age, Ronan Kervarrec discovered the kitchen with his father Alban in the family Inn in Toul Douar – “hole of earth” in Breton, in Hennebont in the Morbihan, a cable length from Lorient. “For me, it was the best. He passed on everything to me, the passion, the rigor, the humility, love of others and to cook magnificent products, very simply. The desire to make well, to please.
He was a big lover of products. He had a kitchen garden where he cultivated himself his vegetables. Every morning, at dawn, he fetched his fishes and shellfish in Kéroman, first French fishing port, and in Port Louis where tuna boats returned from their campaign in June and where from left all the crayfish boats. There was also a campaign of anchovies. My father took up his post at six o’clock in the morning and cooked these products for the lunch “, he remembers with greed.
Another region rocked his childhood and shaped his tasting buds, Provence. «I spent all my summers at my godfather in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. His wife, Pierrette, outstanding cook knew how to put the song of the crickets in your plate. And as, both cultivated the earth, I went to collect melons, peas, raspberries, blackcurrant, strawberries… ”
This explosion of flavors, colors and feelings will decide his fate … Ronan turns quite naturally to a cook’s career. Moving forward stage by stage, strengthening his bases, shaping his culinary identity, in a road rich in meetings. Bruno Oger, a childhood friend, opens him the doors of the high gastronomy by sending him to Georges Blanc. “I passed in this big and beautiful house, exceptional moments. «It’s then Guy Krenzer, twice best worker of France, the creative director of Lenôtre that trusted him. “He accompanied me in my companion’s life Homework of the Tour de France» (he is a companion since 2007). Later a beautiful meeting with Yannick Alleno, with whom «the current passed very fast. He is a friend and I had the pleasure to work by his side at the Royal Mansour in Marrakesh.
In the course of this journey, other invaluable friendships are formed: Philippe Mille (Crayères), Arnaud Nicolas (The Boudoir in the 8th in Paris), Arnaud Donckèle (La Pinède in Saint Tropez), and Christophe Bacquié (The Hotel Castelet in Castelet). These big of the job show him the way to excellence. Ronan becomes an excellent technician and a fine wine taster. A talented, requiring and generous leader, recognized by his peers, he is a finalists of the golden Bocuse France 2012. It is also a member of the Culinary College of France since 2014.
The girondist soul and the spirit of wine in the plate
By being inspired by symbolic products of the Bordelaise and Saint-Emilion, the seasonality’s and the childhood memories, Ronan Kervarrec wants to deliver to the Hostellerie de Plaisance a cooking anchored around Saint-Emilion, and the Gironde, the vineyard and until the Atlantic Coast. A cooking in the measure of the refinement of Hostellerie de Plaisance and the exceptional vineyard in the surrounding’s.
Follower of a ” cooking of product “, at the same time simple and chiseled, generous, greedy, simmered, restoring the neatness of the flavors, Ronan Kervarrec allies an excellent know-how, a big technicality and a sharpened inventiveness. Companion of Duty of the Tour de France, he has the feeling of teamwork and transmission. “The cooking is a moment of sharing and generosity “.
He advocates the simplicity. Seizes a product and works only to glorify it, to reveal its taste, without cheating. He goes in search of the excellent local products at the collusive and complementary producers. “I consider that it is my duty to continue the traditions, the know-how attached to local area. We are in a region renowned for the quality of products: the foie gras, the truffle, the caviar of Aquitaine, vine stock, the beef raised in the rich pastures of Bazadais, the Lamb of Pauillac raised in sheepfold according to a mode which goes back to the XVIIIth century, the oysters of the Bay of Arcachon, The potato of Eysines, formerly cultivated in the rows of vineyards on the hillsides. But also the Imperial shrimp of the Swamps of Médoc, the artichoke of Macau, one of the oldest vegetables cultivated in the Bordeaux area. It was introduced by Bretons at the end of the XVth century! , the courbine of the Pond, the cousin of the bar with a very fine and delicious flesh … These treasures of the earth and the sea occupy a special place and have to appear on our card.
These are very flavorful products; no way must we distort them. Ronan conjugates them to his ways, values them by the cooking, the associations, the dressing and the presentation. Every dish is imagined as a history to be shared. Curious and perfectionist, Ronan also looks for the details which will arouse the reaction on behalf of the customers. He so wishes to put back the honor of carving and flaming in the restaurant.
He creates a surprise by building a menu around the guinea fowl from the Landes: “poultry in majesty “. A meal as a slow greedy thinning-out of striptease. We begin by tasting the liver prepared as a salad Landaise, then the neck, stuffed with summer truffle, the body in a citronella consommé, the thigh served candied in shallot, and we end with the supreme in wrack vapor. His tasting menu invites as for him a «Stroll to Saint-Emilion «in eight stages.
Embracing all the local traditions, Ronan likes reinterpreting the classics. He proposes for example for the beef of Bazas his version of the Bordeaux sauce decorated with vine stock and with cultivated mushrooms (selected at mister Delmas, owner of the last traditional mushroom bed in service in the region, at fifteen kilometers from Saint-Emilion) stuffed with chopped almonds. He will also attempt to transmit ancestral recipes while revisiting them to rediscover them better. To begin with the crépinette, traditionally served hot with the oysters from the Acachon basin. Or the macaroon, the symbol of Saint-Emilion, made since 1620 by Ursulines, nuns of the village in charge of the almonds harvest which they cooked on vine shoots …
And what has remained of the Breton origins of the chef on the card? The taste of beautiful fishes, shells and shellfish; the shifting of alliances between land and sea, the desire to use the salted Arrée butter mounts, the seaweeds, the salt ” Grand Cru of Batz “, the wrack, rock samphire and the Salicornia …
The other flagship product on the right bank of Bordeaux is the wine
We find it in the alliances of course. «I lean on the know-how and the knowledge of Benoît Gélin, the head wine waiter “. And in the heart of dishes, in juices, marinades and sauces, but also in the vine leaf (stuffed by clams to accompany the Hake) or the fresh grape (bringing its sweetness to the steamed pigeon). Ronan is also going to develop a vinegar at Chateau Pavie. Following the example of this vintage vinegar, other house products make their entrance to the card, the olive oil of the Perse family, AOP valley of Baux-de-Provence 2015, and the honey of Chateau Pavie.
Ronan is sensitive to the role of the desserts in a meal. Its vision and its work allow the pastry cook to express himself freely, while integrating into the sweet recipes of techniques appropriate to the cook that allows the meal to keep its coherence, from the canapés to the delicacies. His most beautiful reward ” The cooking is before all a history of sharing, the pleasure. What I prefer, it is the satisfaction of the dinner guests. Make them happy, provokes emotion».
Back to Brittany in 2020
In 2020, chef Ronan Kervarrec took the opportunity to go back to hiw own land, in Brittany, in Rennes, to run his own restaurant, Les Saisons.