"This chef is reserved and not very talkative, preferring to express himself through the food. But when he's asked to talk about the flavours of the South, he's unstoppable! He's passionate, loves sunshine, local producers and the excitement of large receptions. To our great delight, he spoke about himself and his three favourite products: courgettes, aubergines and the queen of ingredients, the tomato."
The man who is confiding in us today is a really happy man. He revealed his delight at being the new Executive Chef at the Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel. Originally from the Champagne area, with innkeeper parents, Philippe Joannès grew up surrounded by the aromas of heart-warming family food. He served prestigious apprenticeships in the Trianon Palace (Versailles), the Royal (Deauville) the Camélia (Bougival) and many others, and loved to stay late in the evening creating dishes, learning and relearning.
He joined Lenôtre via the Pavillon Elisée, creating generous, innovative food, where the accent was already on the spices and flavours of the South. Today, the South offers him everything he's always dreamed of: "a strong regional culture, a sense of authenticity and a profusion of healthy products. Here, we only cook seasonal food. It would be inconceivable to eat a strawberry in winter!"
His favourite? "The Carros strawberry, which you can only find here. It has just the right amount of sweetness. It's a flamboyant red colour, and I use it in a salad with courgette flowers, flavoured with orange blossom." To find these rare gems, he travels around the surrounding countryside, spending his weekends off the beaten track, discovering all kinds of treasures, such as a special lavender honey.
In the market, he'll choose sunshine-filled vegetables, beautiful Perthuis asparagus, beef tomatoes and little mini-aubergines from a talented local producer.
And the sea? "Red mullet is one of the best fish from the Mediterranean, as well as sea bass grilled with fennel, which is a real treat."
The same philosophy applies to receptions, particularly the "Private Dining by Fairmont Monte Carlo" catering service. "My priority is to work almost exclusively with local produce and to interpret traditions. Clients appreciate the convivial, typically Southern aspect of our recipes. Above all, it's important to be authentic … "
Philippe Joannès has managed to keep a high-class artisanal quality, which he has mastered perfectly. "The Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel is able to create exceptional meals for 2 or 5,000 people, with the same high standards. In this job, I'm always listening. I travel around to get a feel of the place and get to know people, so I can create unique food that's perfectly suited to each reception."
As you will have gathered, it's not enough just to talk about Philippe Joannès' cuisine on the Côte d’Azur – it must be tasted and experienced in all its variety. Top quality products, a successful blend of flavours, shared sensations – in a word, "made-to-measure" on a plate.
Today, at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, Philippe Joannès is putting his experience and professionalism at the service of this prestigious four-star hotel. He is an excellent leader, organiser and planner, and places great importance on values and traditions.
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