Michel Guérard: International Award 2006 lomejordelagastronomia.com

I have always felt an enormous enthusiasm for Michel Guérard. Personally, in the early 80s – of the last century as it were – perhaps ’81 or ’82 and thereafter, I discovered an entirely different gastronomic dimension in his cuisine from the one I had previously been accustomed to. Many elements contribute to his distinction. The Garden of the Priest introduced all the visitors of this little paradise called Les Prés d’Eugénie, in Eugénie-les-Bains, Landes, to the exuberant freshness of aromatic herbs. It marked an era, like Rob Baan is doing now with the micro-vegetables at “Koppert Cress” in Holland. Michel’s championing of healthy, elegant cuisine created a marked “before” and “after” among chefs and gourmets, and we radically changed our thinking in light of this new vision of quality without excessive quantity, fats, etc. Even today his recipe books – La Grande Cuisine Minceur, La Cuisine Gourmande, etc. – remain the best works available. The main difference being that for once he left no doubts for the reader: everything is accounted for, even up to the grams of salt and pepper needed in each preparation. And, of course, his dishes are brilliant, sometimes for their perfection and other times for their imagination, they are feasts you remember for the rest of your life. To put it simply, when someone asks me which chefs have truly made history in the last few decades, I don’t hesitate in citing six names: Michel Guérard and Alain Chapel for Nouvelle Cuisine, Joël Robuchon and Frédy Girardet a little later on, and most recently, Michel Bras and Ferran Adrià. What finer tribute can be made to this timeless personality?

Incredible though it seems, Michel Guérard, at 73 years of age, continues to distill more magnificent culinary essences. He has maintained the spirit of an artist through the passage of time. He embodies a daring non-conformism supported by erudition, technique, and refinement. In sum, he is a learned man who has evolved in consonance with the times, and he accepted his role with the clairvoyance that distinguishes only the chosen few. Absorbing history and contemporary influences, he has always strived towards the future. Today, next to his eminently modern and talented creations, he continues to offer the dishes that made him famous. Proud titles shine on the menu for all posterity. Dishes that the gourmet will want to retaste to and relive time and again, both for intellect and palate: “l’oreiller moelleux de mousserons et morilles”, the legendary translucent ravioli with mushrooms invented in 1978 after a visit to China; the lobster, roasted and smoked on the char-grill, with its forest-like fragrances – a precursor to the use of char-grilling in haute cuisine; the goose Hachis Parmentier with beef sweetbreads and black truffle whose original version (1985) was reinvented in symbiosis of gourmet and gourmand; the caramelized peach with rock candy and verbena ice cream, inspired by Escoffier’s Melba, the ice cream here bursting with freshness and exquisiteness; the mille-feuille, enriched currently with coffee, grapefruit cream and strawberries – a unique pastry the world over, and so many, many others… not to forget the bread, with its unmistakable rustic campagne authenticity.

Michel Guérard has given patrimony to all these gastronomic jewels, yet at the same time he incorporates such adored creations as the oysters: meaty, bursting with flavors of the sea, topped with a green coffee chantilly with hints of ginger and cilantro leaves – exciting contrasts expressed with a magic sense of balance; the peas ice cream with their seeds, broad beans and asparagus, topped with assorted raw, green herbal leaves and, in the middle of the plate, a floating island exalted with a couple of spoonfuls of truffle sauce – a genius synthesis of soup and salad that conveys the purity of nature in springtime – it is nothing less than one of the most articulate vegetable dishes served anywhere in the world. The armagnac-infused lobster carpaccio with cocktail sauce and salad represents a magic achievement in balance through difficult terrain: to impregnate semi-raw shellfish with just the right amount of alcohol without it overpowering the dish. The char-grilled red mullet with spider crab enriched spaghetti combines fundamentals and complexity, created in honor of taste and beauty. The lamprey comes to life with a refined sweet white wine sauce. The squab: fatty, bloody, buttery, served with its juices and adorned with the magnificent pairing of foie gras and truffles, all enclosed in a puff pastry shell, represents historical perfection of gastronomy, marked by the unerring imprint of a master.

Michel Guérard: an immortal chef.

Address : 40320 Eugenie-les-Bains. Landes.
Tel. (+33)0558050607
Closed: los meses de enero y febrero
E-mail: reservation@michelguerard.com
Price: 170/200 €
Tasting menu: 135, 155 y 175 €.

1.- Isla flotante como un jardín con trufas y su puré caliente sobre una sopa fría de guisantes
2.- Salmonete con espaguetis e interiores de centollo
3.- Ostra con jengibre, cilantro y chantilly de café verde
4.- Carpaccio de Bogavante