Yannick Alléno, from Parisian Terroir to the Courchevel peaks
After receiving a third Michelin star for his work at Paris' Le Meurice Hotel in 2007, Yannick Alléno set up his first bistro at Maison de la Mutualité in the Capital's 5th district. A tribute to the terroir of his native Île-de-France. Since 2013, Alléno has been working his magic at the foot of the Courchevel slopes, at 1947, restaurant of the Cheval Blanc Hotel.
What made you want to start your career in the kitchen?
My parents managed bistros in the Paris region where I was born, which gave a taste for their work. At 15, I did an internship with Manuel Martinez at the Relais Louis XIII, which plunged me right into the heart of the matter!
What is your philosophy in the kitchen?
It reflects what I have become, my maturity and personal story. Above all that, I also like to define my cuisine as purely "Parisian." I express my creativity with simplicity, elegance, and I seek to work fine gastronomy down to its simplest form.
How important is tradition in your kitchen?
Gastronomy has always played a predominant role in French culture, and this is true today as well, especially since the gastronomic meal of the French was listed as UNESCO World Heritage. It's our role, as chefs, to perpetuate these values and ensure they are transmitted to the greatest number of people.
Where do you find inspiration?
In my roots, of course. I search for inspiration in the products native to Île-de-France, and also in my travels, which allow me to discover new products, new flavours and spices.
What products or specialties would you like to introduce to someone coming to France for the first time?
I am very attached to Île-de-France's regional products, which I pay tribute to in my bistro, Terroir Parisien. Onion soup, calf's head, beef stew... I revisit the region's great classics by putting the spotlight on its soil, the people who work it and the products that grow there.
What kind of advice would you give tourists looking for a successful culinary experience while in France?
I think the palate and tastes are formed and transformed while traveling. I highly suggest that they try the greatest number of local specialties, let their imaginations wander while exploring markets and test the products offered there.