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Domaine Les Crayères.

Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in a park. France,Reims

Philippe Mille

Domaine Les Crayères Reims 51100

I come from the Sarthe. I spent my week-ends and holidays on the farm with my uncle and my grandmother who were farmers. I was lucky enough to be able to grow and sample food grown on their land and discover the scents of vegetables from the kitchen garden, the fragrance of fruit from the orchard and the flavour of farm-reared free-range chicken. That allowed me to train my palate on what are the foundations of cuisine.

My first memories were of the dishes that my grandmother used to make, of the stew simmering on the wood-burning cooker, of a kitchen full of cooking smells and of our own farm-reared chicken boiled with garden vegetables. I also remember the fish that my father would cook when he spent his Sunday mornings in the kitchen to make dishes for us to taste.

I was trained at L'Aubergade restaurant in Pontchartrain under Jean Bordier, at Le Drouant under Louis Grondard, at Le Pré Catelan under Frédéric Anton, at Lasserre and then at the Ritz under Michel Roth, at Le Scribe and then at Le Meurice under Yannick Alléno, with whom I won the Bocuse bronze medal at the Bocuse d’Or.

I was exceptionally lucky to meet these great chefs: they all passed on to me their knowledge, philosophy, their passion and their vision of cuisine.

My cuisine? Pleasure, generosity, gourmandise, childhood memories, a respect for your ingredients and seasonal produce, in short, a cuisine that is pared down and aims at the heart of the matter.

What was your most moving culinary experience?
My meals at the Paul Bocuse restaurant: the epitome of perfect classic cuisine with extraordinary ingredients. The dining room was filled with an atmosphere of festivity and conviviality. Sheer pleasure.

The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
When I had finished my military service I was looking for a position and Jean Bordier at L’Aubergade sent me to Le Drouant to talk to Louis Grondard. When I arrived at the foyer of the restaurant I happened on someone and asked him to direct me to the chef’s office. The man didn’t move. I repeated my question, and he started to laugh. I then learnt, a little late, that he was Louis Grondard!

Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Cook with passion and enjoy...

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