France’s chef of the year revealed

20th October, 2016
France is one of the most highly-renowned gastronomic capitals of the world, and recognition for being a top chef here is one of the most sought-after accolades in the culinary world. In France, the awards given by the Gault and Millau guide is the second most-trusted, behind only the Michelin guide. 

The newest person to have received the prestigious accolade of being France’s chef of the year, according to the Gault and Millau Guide, is chef Alexandre Couillon, who runs one of the country’s best seafood restaurants, La Marine. La Marine is hidden away on the unpretentious island of Noirmoutier, located off the coast of western France’s Vendee region, near some of our luxury French villas.

When Couillon first took on the restaurant, the place struggled to attract customers even in the summer, though now people travel more than 500 miles to dine there. He added: "It's amazing... we have five or six emails from abroad every day to book tables next year.”

The secret to Couillon’s success is keeping things simple, with “no snobbishness, no truffles nor caviar". He reworks classic ingredients, many of which are sourced from his garden as well as the nearby fishing port of L’Herbaudiere, in an ingenious way to create dishes the critics adore. Among the culinary delights on offer are sardine crackers, cauliflower ice cream and Colonnata lard with squid, which have also helped La Marine gain two Michelin stars.

Despite La Marine’s success, however, Couillon doesn’t plan to continue with the restaurant any different than before. He said: "Nothing is going to change. I remain an artisan. I just want to get up every morning and keep that same pleasure of going to work."