Growing your own vegetables, growing your aromatic herbs… What was once a unique initiative, with the flagship of the great chef Alain Passard in the maneuver to renovate a vegetable garden in Pays de la Loire in 2002, has grown to a sesame essential to hope to win the award that everyone will be talking about on the occasion of the Michelin guide of France on March 22: the green star, a reward to congratulate restaurants committed to the environment.
In the heart of the Mont-Blanc massif, Emmanuel Renaut doesn’t just rely on mountain picking to create his three-star dishes. The chef of the Flocons de Sel restaurant has also created a 500 m2 vegetable garden next to his table, where he can take advantage of products to draw on all year round. Oxalys, caraway, egopode, mountain pine, nasturtiums, monarda flowers, geranium… These are some of the 18 herbs and flowers that the restaurateur cultivates to give depth to his recipes. An ecological philosophy that Emmanuel Renaut has applied in his other luxury hotel, located in Chamonix, at the Auberge du Bois Prin.
The Savoyard chef is one of those examples of chefs committed to ethical gastronomy, in harmony with the times and environmental concerns. While the creation of a vegetable garden a few years ago was the prerogative of a few great chefs, these spaces that offer the opportunity to enjoy local production at their fingertips are becoming “must-haves” as much as a sine qua non argument. to hope to get a Michelin green star. In 2002, when Alain Passard renovated a vegetable garden in Fillé-sur-Sarthe, the star chef of Arpège, in Paris, started a huge project that would make him self-sufficient to feed his famous table, which was acclaimed by many times. A work of common sense and commitment, obtained thanks to the management of two other vegetable gardens in the Eure, as well as an orchard in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.
Permaculture to “Cultivate Your Garden”
Today, even the premier cru classé of Saint-Emilion, Château Troplong-Mondot, has integrated the space of a vegetable garden in his overhaul. Reopening last June, after three years of renovation, Bordeaux’s famous vineyard celebrated nature with the creation of a permaculture vegetable garden, where fruits and vegetables are harvested to supply the estate’s kitchens. The majestic park of Troplong-Mondot also welcomed a dozen chickens, which once lived in intensive farming.
Permaculture exactly. This is often the philosophy of restaurants now launching their vegetable garden. In the heart of the Haute Vallée de la Chevreuse, Californian Cybèle Idelot, together with her husband, bought the Domaine des Bruyères, where a vegetable garden is the cornerstone of this successful restaurateur’s project, having conquered the taste buds through her eponymous restaurant, located in Boulogne Billancourt. Vegetable and fruit crops are planted in a 1.4 hectare park and are carried out in permaculture. The restaurant’s entire menu, called Ruche, consists of harvests.
Follow the example of star master Laurent Petit in Le Clos des Sens
Take care of the earth, the people and redistribute what nature gives us. If we were to briefly summarize the spirit of permaculture in this way, we could also illustrate this definition through one of the masters of the genre: Laurent Petit. Overlooking Lake Annecy and facing the Bauges massif, the three-star chef of Clos des Sens, launched in summer 2018, gives back what he gave to it: success. That is why, since last summer, the 1,000 m2 vegetable garden where the scents of 200 vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants are intertwined, is annexed to a 500 m2 aromatic garden that forms the framework of a new pop-up restaurant that is open only in summer. opens . Baptized the Cortil (pronounced without the L), meaning garden in Savoyard patois, the place houses seven tables where about twenty guests dine on sunny days with their feet in the grass.
Sometimes some have delusions of grandeur. In the Var, in Cannet-des-Maures, Château Saint-Roux has no less than 90 varieties of vegetables, which everyone can afford through baskets sold in the shop, unless they taste them at Table Saint-Roux. This Provencal address has a vegetable garden of 3,800 m2 that offers the possibility to grow this rich range of vegetables and even hazelnuts and almonds. In the Camargue, we would especially offer Armand Arnal the price of originality. The chef of La Chassagnette, the renowned gourmet restaurant in Arles, uses his two-acre garden to grow Kyoto peppers, purple shiso or even pineapple sage, reveals Madame Le Figaro†
Very often, chefs’ vegetable gardens are part of a broad reflection in favor of preserving the environment and are articulated in a virtuous circle consisting in collecting the organic waste emitted in the kitchen. On the Flocons de sel in Megève, as well as on the Château de Candie in Chambéry, the remains are turned into compost and used as fertilizer. Every year the list of restaurants that have added a vegetable garden grows. And the upcoming announcement of the new holders of the Michelin green star threatens to update it even more…
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