Gourmet cooking perfumed with essences by Emmanuel Renaut
Michelin 3 star chef from Restaurant Flocons de Sel, in Megève, uses pine tree and savory vinegar, hogweed oils and herb pectins to season his gourmet cooking.
Going through Megève, we drove along the Leutaz itinerary, and took a serpentine lane to thrust into the mountain; then we came upon a splendid view on the crests and valleys below. Here, Emmanuel Renaut and his wife Kristine gathered a few chalets to install their gourmet restaurant and cosy gîte.
When we met him, he was walking down from one his vegetable gardens, carrying a bunch of hogweed in his hands - hogweed is a wild plant with anise scent Emmanuel Renault likes to use in his cuisine these days. We spent a night at his side, and were able to observe how he works meticulously, how much detail is important to him, how he concentrates and how his face lightens up when he sends off one of his dishes.
Pluris – Where does your love of mountains come from?Emmanuel Renaut – I am native of the Parisian region, but I have always loved nature and plants - including flowers that are not good to eat, such as orchids - even before I did my basic training with Marc Veyrat. And indeed, I like to perfume dishes with essences such as pine tree and savory vinegar, hogweed oils and herb pectins.
How do you prepare your dishes?I am very often inspired by nature. I go walking and I collect plants from which I then compose my dishes. Bu the dishes I compose evolve from one day to another. And of course, I have to be watchful of the weather, which is very changing, so I have to remain alert and sometimes, I need to adapt the menu accordingly. I respect the seasons, the weather, and the identity of the territory I live in, and I compose with what I can find. It is stimulating.
Are you an impulsive person or would you be more rational?I am impulsive, but before I test a produce, I know how it will taste. I currently use girolle mushrooms, almonds, parsley coffee and a little touch of cherry to give a bit of acidity to the dishes.
What relationships do you have with your guests?I like interaction when guests taste my dishes. Take salad, for example: everyone will appreciate it in a different way according to which type of salad they choose, how they chew it - contact with the palate can be either in front or deep down within the mouth. Sensitivity is unique to everyone and this is what fascinates me.
Composition of the first service with La Féra du Lac Léman, cooked in salt, served cold, with sour pectin.