The French Alps bring to mind glorious mountain ranges, powder soft snow fall and cosy log cabins to sip on egg nog and mulled wine. This is one of the spots where well-heeled Europeans holiday and there’s certainly no lack of swish accommodations boasting breath-taking views.
In France, where there are glamorous resorts, there will be quality restaurants. Just ask Jeremy Gillon, the executive chef of Audace Bar & Restaurant at Wanderlust Hotel who spent a good bulk of his career working in restaurants at the French Alps. “The place is very diverse,” he explains. “One common thing that most restaurants share is that they offer diners an out-of- the-ordinary experience because of the setting and atmosphere unlike restaurants one can find in the cities.”
Aside from the atmosphere, the restaurants of French Alps also rely on the small producers that make a living on the bounty of the land. After years of working in the region, chef Jeremy has amassed a sizeable network of 80 of these artisans ranging from cheesemakers to Alpine herb foragers — many of these ingredients have found their way into his menu here in Singapore.
Yet there’s nothing quite like getting close to the source. From an establishment owned by one of France’s best chefs to communal dining spots where the food is as warm as the company, chef Jeremy offers up his personal list of restaurants to check out if you’re holidaying in the area.
Flocons de Sel is one of chef Jeremy’s finest picks for good reason; it’s founded and run by Emmanuel Renaut — the French chef who was rated in the top 10 of Le Chef’s annual list of 100 Best Chefs In The World. The restaurant is part of a luxury chateaux and features a seasonal menu that includes some of the best produce from the Mageve; think along the lines of char fished from the a freshwater lake and wild mushrooms foraged from the area.
Flocons de Sel, 1775 Route du Leutaz, 74120 Megève, +33 4 50 21 49 99.
The qualities that chef Jeremy love about Le Clos des Sens Restaurant is its creativity and resourcefulness. The two Michelin-starred establishment treads the fine line between rustic and polished for its wooden walls are matched by white tables cloths and a crackling fireplace. “The chef, Laurent Petit, only uses ingredients from the three lakes of Annecy, Geneva, and Le Boruget, and plantations in Savoie,” says chef Jeremy. “I find this very challenging and very creative of Laurent Petit to limit himself with local ingredients and yet create such wonderful dishes.”
Les Close des Sens Restaurant, 13 Rue Jean Mermoz, 74940 Annecy-le-Vieux, France, +33 4 50 23 07 90.
If dining at a polished restaurant high up in the mountains isn’t your cup of tea, then Chalet de la Marine could be your antidote. Think log cabins, a crackling fireplace and traditional Savoyard cuisine – food that’s traditional to the Savoie region. One particular ingredient chef Jeremy loves and that’s typical of the region’s style is white trout – regarded as the best of its kind. “I like how the fish is done in the “La Truite Au Bleu”, where the fresh fish is poached, and the skin turns slightly blue,” he says. “This only happens when the fish is fresh, hence the name of the dish.”
Chalet de la Marine, Piste les dalles – Télésiège Cascades, 73440 Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France, +33 4 79 00 11 90.
The best experiences in life are often said to be the ones that can inspire. For chef Jeremy’s case, The Chabichou — a chandeliered and table clothed restaurant that serves up classics like foie gras and apple with grilled toast and slow cooked venison is one such. It brought so much comfort that he wishes his restaurant here in Singapore could evoke the same feelings. “I love the warmth and familial spirit of the restaurant and food,” says the chef. “It reminds me so much of my childhood, and it’s also very similar to the concept I’ve adopted back at Audace, where we encourage communal dining.”
Le Chabichou, Rue des Chenus, 73120 Saint-Bon-Tarentaise, France, +33 4 79 08 00 55.
One-Michelin-starred Restaurant Les Explorateurs stands out for its contemporary interiors in a region where dining either falls on the rustic log cabin-type spots or formal fine dining. The food here is simple yet inspired, where dishes like blue lobster is roasted and served with a yellow carrot puree and yuzu sauce to perk up the palette.
Restaurant Les Explorateurs, Place du Slalom, 73440 Val Thorens, France, +33 4 79 09 51 55.