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Auberge du Lion d’Or.

Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux in a village. Switzerland,Cologny

Thomas Byrne et Gilles Dupont

Chef
Auberge du Lion d’Or Cologny CH-1223

Gilles Dupont: I was born in Annecy in 1956, 40 km from Geneva. My first culinary experience was a work placement to earn a little pocket money. I studied at the hotel management school in Bonneville before completing my studies at Westminster Catering College. Then I had the opportunity to work with Marc Veyrat at L’Eridan, at the London Hilton and at the Queen Elisabeth in Montreal.

The first time I worked as a chef was at Le Cygne restaurant at the Geneva Hilton. The restaurant had won two stars by the time I left in 1990. Then I became executive chef at the Hôtel du Rhône for its two restaurants and I won two new stars for one of them, the Neptune.

In 1996 I became my own boss at L’Auberge du Lion d’Or in Coligny. This restaurant had left its mark on me: I had been an apprentice chef there in 1974!

That’s where I currently practise as a chef and draw on all these experiences as well as a number of internships with great chefs such as Jacques Le Divellec in his restaurant of the same name, Joël Robuchon at Le Jamin and at L’Oasis in Brussels.


Thomas Byrne: I was born in Dublin and once I’d finished my studies at the age of 19, I left my native city to go to London to Westminster Catering College.

I started at the bottom and learnt my profession in famous places like the Intercontinental in London and Hamburg.

In 1977 I joined the Intercontinental in Geneva and worked my way up from job to job to become chef at the French restaurant “Les Continents”. That’s where I met Gilles Dupont who had become executive chef for all the restaurants at the hotel. After a period of several years working, in 1996, I decided to go with Gilles Dupont to take over L’Auberge du Lion d’Or in Coligny.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to perfect my techniques through internships in superb restaurants such as Taillevent in Paris, La Mère Blanc in Vonnas, Vergé in Mougins, L’Auberge de l’Ill belonging to the Haeberlin brothers in Illhaeusern, Bocuse in Lyon, not to mention Loiseau in Saulieu!

What was your most moving culinary experience?
Gilles Dupont: At the “Quinta” restaurant in Rio de Janeiro where I ate a superb langoustine with locally-grown vegetables, a truly miraculous combination of local produce!

Thomas Byrne: The first time that I ate at Girardet’s restaurant and also at Bocuse!

The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
Gilles Dupont: Sending out a supreme of pheasant en croûte into the dining room without any pheasant!! You can just imagine the face of the head waiter who carved the pastry in front of the guests and sadly found it was empty!

Thomas Byrne: I was in the middle of preparing a buffet of desserts for children at the home of some customers when my glasses fell into the chocolate fondue! The children fell about laughing and those same customers gave me a pair of magnetic glasses which clip on in front so they always remain round my neck!

Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Gilles Dupont: The main thing is not to be scared and to go with your intuition. Anything that you make with love just has to be good!!!

Thomas Byrne: To want to cook and to make something simple with top-quality produce. You cook best when it’s something you really want to do!