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Maison Lameloise.

Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in a village. France,Chagny

Eric Pras

Maison Lameloise Chagny 71150

It was watching my mother bustle purposefully around the stove that filled me with a passion for cooking. Contact with all those great chefs who are able to communicate to others their love of gastronomy is what fuelled my desire to strive for the very best.

The experiences which have left a mark on me were time spent with Troisgros in Roanne, Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu, Pierre Gagnaire in St Etienne, Antoine Westermann in Strasbourg at the Buerehiesel, before going to the Belle Otéro to be with Christian Chauveau in Cannes and, of course, Régis Marcon in St Bonnet le Froid and Jacques Lameloise in Chagny.

What have I learnt from all that? From Troisgros: the spirit of a three stars assembled in minute detail. From Loiseau: cuisine in its purest form. From Gagnaire: a sense of creativity. From Westermann: Alsace, naturally, its generosity and the beauty of its produce. From Jacques Lameloise: his simplicity … Qualities which are mutually complementary and have further enriched what was an already rich training.

My high points: my apprenticeship with Troisgros (a dream!), meeting Pierre Gagnaire, and then the six years I spent with Régis Marcon. The title of Best Worker of France (MOF) awarded in 2004. Finally, the biggest challenge of my life, working with Jacques Lameloise, and aiming to succeed him eventually.

Mine is a constantly-evolving heritage cuisine, which respects its ingredients. It is sensitive, gourmet cuisine, adding a touch of fantasy to whatever tradition is in vogue.

What was your most moving culinary experience?
Two meals with the Troisgros in Roanne and Jacques Decoret in Vichy.

The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
A gourmet week on the Orient Express with Régis Marcon for the Venice carnival. A truly memorable moment, partly due to the historical setting, and also to the simple fact of cooking on a grill in a train which is passing over points. Just the thing to bring you out in a cold sweat, as everything could topple over… including the trolley of crème brûlées!

Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Simplicity is the key to flavour.


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