Alexandre Gauthier

La Grenouillère 

La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France

Revolution among the God’s of the Kitchen – French avant-garde

No. 62 / 100 Best, ★

The names most commonly associated with the art of French cooking include Joel Robuchon, Alain Ducasse, Michel Guérard or Georges Blanc. The culinary world focuses almost its entire attention on a select group of grand masters from France. There is no doubt they are all superb chefs. But a certain excitement is missing. Perfect craft, classic dishes, far removed from the top levels of international avant-garde. But the front line in trendsetting and artful, revolutionary French cuisine does exist. Practically ignored at home in France and without any real name on an international stage. Wrongly so, especially if one takes a look at what Alexandre Gauthier is up to in Normandy. His restaurant and hotel La Grennouillère (the frog’s leg) alone is worth a visit. He has created a remarkably modern eatery in a historical building, typical of the region. Some elements of the industrial architecture exude a rough, futuristic touch. But what emerges from the large, open kitchen is simply astonishing. Marshmallows with fish guts, peas and rocket from dunes, a bed of nestles or the apparently simple but actually sensational fried wax beans with salad burnet and wild mint. Gauthier focuses clearly on the products, which are mostly sourced locally. He has a truly masterful touch. His award of just one star is incomprehensible if one considers a Gauthier menu. It is possible that the chef is simply too radical for the conservative French critics. But let’s not forget: he was once listed ‘One to watch’ in the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’.

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