Running a restaurant is a big undertaking. For a three star restaurant to reach that level and maintain it, takes a lot of work and knowledge--in fact, there are only three restaurants that have been awarded three Michelin stars in Switzerland, as of 2017.
Franck Giovannini, head chef of Hôtel de Ville, located in Crissier, western Switzerland was kind enough to sit down for an interview with us. The full interview goes into great detail about his work in the restaurant and how he puts his menus together. However, we’ve condensed the “meat” of this to help you understand what culinary creation for a three star restaurant entails.
It’s All About Respect
Culinary creation means respecting the ingredients, your staff, customers and the recipe. When you put respect into everything you do, magic happens!
Every chef has a style and every restaurant has a style. Both the head chef’s style and the restaurant style has to come together to create something “whole” before excellence is achieved.
Make Smart Selections
The best results cannot occur unless smart selections are made. A good chef will spend weeks planning a menu and may spend more time shopping for ingredients each day than he or she actually spends cooking. Remember the adage, measure twice, cut once.
Keep Customers Interested
Customers are interested in new and exciting offerings. Changing the menu often is key. Chef Giovannini changes his menu approximately five times a year and has never reused a menu in his 22 years at the Hôtel de Ville.
Pairings are Crucial
One big part of culinary creation is deciding how to pair various foods and beverages. Creating a full experience is what Franck does with every menu and only by doing this has he achieved the pinnacles in the industry.
Elegance is Important
While taste is obviously the most important thing when it comes to dining, don’t forget about looks. Plating is vital. Franck never sends out a plate he isn’t personally proud of and one that he wouldn’t want to see in front of him, as well.
Never Stop Learning
The final, and most important lesson in culinary creation is to never stop learning. Even a chef as experienced as Giovannini will constantly learn--both from “the book” and from his staff, customers and the world around him. In doing this, his dining experience grows as well. If you don’t think you can learn from your customers, look only to the noted quote by Dan Barber--”Clean plates don’t lie.”
The reality is, this is only the beginning of what must be considered when running a fine dining establishment. Culinary creation is only the beginning.