Alain Chapel

Philippe Jousse
Philippe Jousse
Country: France
City: 01390 Mionnay
Address: RN
(+33) 0 478918202
Closed: Monday and Tuesday, January, from the 15 – 22 of August
Price: 110/155 €
Tasting menu:: 105 , 140 €

  • Huevo escalfado sobre colmenillas al vino blanco de Savagnin, espárragos verdes
  • Huevo escalfado sobre colmenillas al vino blanco de Savagnin, espárragos verdes de Villelaure con cangrejos de río de patas rojas
  • Cigalas y velouté de hinojo sobre gelatina de crustáceos con helado de aceitunas
  • Cigalas y velouté de hinojo sobre gelatina de crustáceos con helado de aceitunas negras

Alain Chapel was one of the most important chefs of his generation. Supreme advocate of nouvelle cuisine, he represents a milestone in the history of gastronomy. His style, calibrated, light, directed at exalting the product, has influenced an entire generation of chefs, and his kitchens have formed some of the great talents of our time (it suffices to mention one name: Alain Ducasse). After his premature passing in 1990, Phillipe Jousse, executive chef of Chapel’s restaurant in Kobe, was brought back to France to take the reins of the kitchen and perpetuate the teachings of the master.

In Mionnay, it is as if time had stopped. In a true ambience of grande maison, the decoration, the wine cellar, the porcelain dinner settings, the quality of service, everything has remained unchanged. Phillipe Jousse proposes the masterful works that made Alain Chapel famous, like the cassoulet of kidneys and cock crest, the mushroom soup “cappuccino”, or the chicken of Bresse en vessie, alternating with new creations that stay in line with the classics of the house. What remains clear is that this is neither a museum nor a mausoleum; the dishes are not mechanically reproduced as is found in other temples of haute cuisine whose figure heads remain alive and kicking but with obvious signs of apathy. Here, the entire team makes the effort to provide the best of what they can do. A restaurant of French cuisine from the 70s, yes, but still marvelous.

After a light, perfumed cream of cold vegetables with a cream quenelle, they served us the celebrated salad of blue lobster, sliced rose-colored squab, valerian and black truffle seasoned with a sublime vinaigrette, a few tiny capers and pickle slices. Such contrasts! Such balance! Such elegance! This dish doesn’t surprise or shock like it did in 1972 when it was first created (combining fowl and shellfish in a single dish was truly scandalous at that time), but it remains a masterful work. We continued with the rabbit cooked for four hours en cocotte, which is served cold with a splendid “quivering” rosemary gelatin, a thick, tender slice of pancetta and country beans with traditional flavors. Such texture! Such lightness! We finished with the mythical rose kidneys cooked in their own fat, accompanied by an omelette of chanterelle mushrooms and potatoes. Simply perfect, no other description can be used. The secret of the kidneys by Alain Chapel has never been revealed. With no sauce to cover it, not a shred of harshness in the aftertaste, tender like a filet, appetizing, smooth, inimitable. These days it is most likely impossible to find one that betters it in the entire world.

There are those who will ask, and not without reason, if it is logical to give homage to a chef that was a great innovator but who simply recreates his classical dishes. Cuisine of yesteryear? Without a doubt, but perfectly situated in an essential period in the history of gastronomy and, precisely for that reason, unique, today more than ever. It’s still good to go back and listen to Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis, even though it was recorded many years ago. If you want to know what nouvelle cuisine really was, just come to Mionnay and find out…