Philipe Vételé is from Angers and is an enthusiastic, self-taught chef who has known great success with his minimalist style of iodine-infused cooking. His adventure started in 1979 when the Vételés discovered La Plaine sur Mer, an idyllic spot between the Atlantic and the Pays de Retz. Here Philippe Vételé, in partnership with his brother, built the Anne de Bretagne hotel and restaurant. Starting with simple cooking, the chef took a number of advanced training courses with the finest chefs of that time and developed an increasingly sophisticated cuisine which took its inspiration directly from ingredients from the sea. Pairings of food and wines devised by him and his wife, Michèle Vételé, a sommelière, add the finishing touches to the dishes served at Anne de Bretagne and further add to the restaurant's reputation. In 2002, he won his first Michelin star in recognition of his enthusiasm for the profession and his strenuous efforts to get the very best out of seafood. In 2004, Gault & Millau recognised his excellence by naming him Chef of the Year for the Pays de la Loire. However, Philippe Vételé has not stopped there, and continues to experiment and innovate with ever-more surprising menus to the delight of his regular customers. This constant quest for perfection was again recognised by food critics, and in 2010 he won a second Michelin star and in 2011 a fourth Toque from Gault & Millau. In 2013, his commitment to developing the local economy and supporting local producers was recognised by the award of the National Order of Merit.
I like shellfish just barely cooked, to preserve their region flavor. I cook cockles and clams only for a few seconds in their own eau de vie. When you bite into them they have a pearly quality that bursts forth in the mouth – it’s that oceanic flavor that I’m after. I also season my fish sauces with shellfish juice. For an appetizer I have created a selection of Gillardeau oysters at four different temperatures to evoke the four seasons: in a sorbet, a cauliflower chaud-froid, hot with curry and cumin and warm en marinière.
I work with small-scale fishermen for shellfish like clams and cockles, and I go every morning to the markets in the area. All of my shellfish are purchased within 10 kilometers of La Plaine sur Mer. The best time of year for shellfish is always spring.