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Relais & Châteaux Chef

Didier Clément

Chef - Relais & Châteaux

1 Michelin Star 2022

Didier Clément

Grand Hôtel du Lion d’Or

Romorantin-Lanthenay - France

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L'histoire d'un chef Relais & Châteaux

I come from near the banks of the River Loire. My childhood was punctuated by fishing, fruit picking, and walks in the forest. I started cooking when I was 16 and from the very first day when I found myself surrounded by a complete kitchen team, I immediately knew I was in the right place. I was lucky to serve my apprenticeship under Jean Guinot, who passed on to me a liking for what is beautiful and good. After spending some time in major properties like Taillevent, Ledoyen and the Oasis, love led me to Romorantin, in 1980. Since then I’ve been interpreting the culinary and cultural heritage of my region, in particular through the rediscovery of forgotten produce, spices, wild herbs, mushrooms and wild fruit. What matters to me is enhancing the value of simple produce by revealing how truly amazing it is. Our region was very much influenced by the Renaissance. At that period people were receptive to other influences: they opened their windows. Encounters and travel can also influence my cooking. I like drifting…

How do you go about selecting your ingredients?

As a child I used to gather cèpe (boletus) mushrooms in the forest near Chambord. Unfortunately, I no longer have time today, but I love being out in the woods, the smell of humus… I work with experienced gatherers who have a real “radar” for finding mushrooms. We have very strong, close relations – I even dedicated a dish to one of them.

What is your Chef’s secret to preparing your star ingredient?

Mushrooms are one of the emblematic products of the Sologne region, and I often cook with them. I offer a feather-light mille-feuille of cèpes with a butter and chicken stock sauce, or variations on chanterelles in several courses. I have also created a powder of some ten different mushrooms under the trademark Tabac de Cuisine (“kitchen snuff”) that I use as a condiment for seasoning.

 

Les restaurants Relais & Châteaux de Didier Clément

Grand Hôtel du Lion d'Or

  • 1 Michelin Star 2022
  • Creative cooking
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