They have just been consecrated by the Michelin Guide 2010. A star henceforth symbolizes their talent and opens the doors to the very closed circle of master chefs.
There are those who work in palaces or renowned hotels. Then there are others who, one day, have taken the plunge and opened their own restaurants. This year, three independent chefs have won this so highly coveted award. Even if they make light of it, or use it to put certain things straight, like David Faure, the chef at Aphrodite : “The star may provide an opportunity to clarify things : molecular gastronomy is certainly not magic, it involves a lot of work and research, a high level of rigour, as in pastry-making”. He also talks about “techno-emotional” cuisine. Also in Nice, Mickaël Gracieux, former pupil of Robuchon and Ducasse, sees a Michelin star as an acknowledgment of his work. Since launching his restaurant two years ago, he still works alone in the kitchen and steers his path with very personal recipes. At lunchtime, he proposes a “grains of rice” menu, reserving the full measure of his gastronomic inspiration for dinner. Before opening his own establishment, Christian Morisset worked for prestigious addresses (Le Mas d'Artigny, La Chèvre d’Or, La Bonne Auberge, La Terrasse at the Hôtel Juana, the Moulin de Mougins). Today, his Figuier de Saint-Esprit is an intimate venue, nestling in the Old Town of Antibes, a “family affair”. The chef works with his wife and son, focusing on harmony, refinement, finesse. With him, no frills, but an astute blend of flavours and fragrances.
This year again, hotel restaurants treat themselves to the lion’s share. Honour where honour is due, Yannick Franque at the Château Saint-Martin has won his second star in two years. A rare accomplishment which he simply explains : “It’s a reward for day-to-day work with my team”. His favourite recipe ? Lobster cooked in fish soup with saffron, “pané” of black olives with a hint of aniseed. Sébastian Chambru has arrived at the Moulin de Mougins to retrieve its lost letters of nobility. Done and dusted ! This defender of French “haute cuisine” has brought back to the village of Roger Vergé the “cuisine of the sun” so dear to the Master. Not to be missed, his slices of duck “foie gras” fried in the pan Suzette-style, or suckling pig cooked at a low temperature and served with a tart of broad beans and morel mushrooms, and a juice with the scents of spring. Philippe Jego, chef at the Pavillon restaurant at the Impériale Garoupe, is very discreet. Consecrated “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” in 2000, he has crowned his third year here with a Michelin star. His strong points ? Precise cooking times, exemplary respect for ingredients. Sébastien Broda sees his task as “making something new from the classics”. This 30 year-old chef learnt almost everything he knows from Christian Willer, Francis Chauveau and Alain Parodi. After leaving Le Jarrier in Biot, which he ran with two associates, Sébastien joined the extended and now high-tech kitchens of Le Park 45. The youngest chef on the Croisette, he is now on the same footing as his peers, with Christian Sinicropi heading the list. In the Principality, no real surprise for the star that now crowns Yoshi, the Japanese restaurant in the Métropole Monte-Carlo. Joël Robuchon, who adores Japan (and boasts a total of 26 stars for all his restaurants), is here seconded by Christophe Cussac and Takeo Yamazaki, who worked with the French chef for 15 years in the Land of the Rising Sun. Sushi, sashimi and other dishes demonstrate exceptional simplicity and sheer virtuosity. The very best of Japan, from Menton to Saint-Tropez.
Aphrodite David Faure, 10 boulevard Dubouchage, Nice (04 93 85 63 53). Carte : environ 55 €. L’Aromate, 20 avenue Maréchal Foch, Nice (04 93 62 98 24). Déjeuner : 40 €. Dîner : 50 € et 70 €. Le Figuier de Saint-Esprit, 14 rue Saint-Esprit, Antibes (04 93 34 50 12). Menus : Le Figuier : 55 € ; L’Humeur de Saint-Esprit : 75 €. Formule Esprit du Vin : 29 €. Carte : environ 80 €. Le Moulin de Mougins, Quartier Notre Dame de Vie, Mougins (04 93 75 78 24). Déjeuner du Moulin : 49 €. Menu Découverte : 90 € et 160 €. Le Pavillon, Impérial Garoupe, 827 chemin Garoupe, Antibes-Juan-les-Pins (04 92 90 23 97). Carte : environ 100 €. Le Saint Martin, Château Saint Martin, 2490 avenue des Templiers, Vence (04 93 58 02 02). Déjeuner, Menu Découverte : 62 €. Menu Saveurs et Senteurs : 79 €. Menu Dégustation : 110 € ou 170 € avec accord mets et vins. Menu Signature : 160 €. Park 45, 45 boulevard Croisette, Cannes (04 93 38 15 45). Menu déjeuner : 25 €. Menu Plaisirs : 60 €. Yoshi, Le Métropole Monte-Carlo, 4 avenue de la Madone, Monaco (00 377 93 15 13 13). Déjeuner : Sushi Lunch : 90 €. Menu Yoshi : 115 €. Menu Aki : 140 €. Menu Kaiseki : 190 €.
By Cécile Olivéro