Following a Star
Julie Mautner / January 2013
Paris—Michelin three-star chef Yannick Alléno, 44, has left the venerable Le Meurice in Paris, where he has been chef for nearly 10 years. Alléno will “transfer his kitchens” to the 25 seat 1947 Restaurant at the Hôtel Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, France, his seasonal winter restaurant. He will continue to operate his bistro Terroir Parisien, which he opened in 2011 in Paris, and will continue to consult at the Royal Mansour in Marrakech, Morocco, and also at the One&Only The Palm in Dubai, Shangri-La Pékin, and in the 101 Tower in Taipei.
At press time, Le Meurice had not named a replacement for Alléno nor said what would become of the restaurant, also called Le Meurice, which he took over in 2003. Alléno obtained his third star in Paris in 2007, catapulting Le Maurice into one of the most coveted tables in Paris. At the time, Alléno speculated that some people reserved rooms at the hotel in order to get a restaurant reservation even though no more than 10 percent of his customers were hotel guests. “People want to eat three stars, not two,” he said. He was named Best Chef of the Year by the magazine Le Chef in 2008. Alléno is a staunch locavore and firmly rooted in tradition, although he embraces many modernist techniques (see his langoustine and pea demo) and was enthusiastic about Philippe Starck’s redecoration of the Meurice’s gilded Louis XIV dining room. He cites Paul Bocuse as the inspiration for his career.
He has said that he dreamed of donning a chef’s toque since the age of 8, when his friends were more interested in a fireman’s helmet. He started out as a pastry chef and credits that training for his precision and meticulous presentations. He then worked his way up through a succession of prestigious Paris hotel kitchens.
“My purpose today is to concentrate myself on the 1947 and to search again and again to obtain the best of cuisine moderne,” Alléno says. “Giving emotions is my only challenge…I need to try something new and move forward differently. I am proud of my traditions but thirst for creativity.” Alléno actually holds five stars; he has two at the restaurant 1947.