On Monday, 11th of December, in the sumptuous « Chapelle des Beaux-Arts » of Paris, the Champagne Collet house was organizing the 5th prize-giving ceremony for the « Best Chef’s Book of the Year ». A contest won by the Parisian chef Greg Marchand for his book « Frenchie ».
Beaux-Arts chapel, Paris, 11th of December. For their « Best Chef’s Book of the Year » prize-giving ceremony, the Champagne house Collet chose a splendid setting. While the previous editions were in Champagne, the house decided, this time, to come in one of the most beautiful places of the capital, right in the courtyard of the « Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts ». In total, 11 Francophone chefs were competing. Each one had organized a meal at the Table Ronde in order to present his book and his cooking to the jury. The dishes had to represent their influence and to ally with the best Collet bottles.
In the chapel, the first impressions are unanimous : the gildings and the height of the ceiling have an effect on the chefs, journalists and other specialists of the gastronomic world. In total, more than 130 persons are witnessing the consecration of Greg Marchand for his book : « Frenchie ». During the whole ceremony, every action is separated by dishes. Under the portraits of the previous winners and one-night hosts (Régis Marcon, Nicolas Stamm, Frédéric Doucet & Eric Guérin), a dozen of tables are placed through the chapel, ready to receive the 4 dishes of the service. A 7 starred meal that escorted the ceremony throughout the reception.
And that is when the third dish, the Roasted venison’s back, with a lemoned persillade, quince and beetroots of Frédéric Doucet, is served that the prize is given to the winner from the hand of the proposer of this fifth edition : Patrick Poivre d’Arvor. After a short speech, the latter announces the victory of Gregory Marchand, chef at the Frenchie, for the book of the same name. A few meters away, at the table of the chef, they are already celebrating. The chef, owner of 4 restaurants, who came with his friends stands up and goes to the scene slowly, through the photographs and the waiters. On the stage at the end of the chapel, his portrait is revealed on an easel, together with one of the latest Champagne Collet cuvée . He joins the four other chefs who predated him, their photos overlooking the stage. For the first time, the Champagne house has crowned a cook that is not starred.
Further away from the stage and closer to the plates, there is no lack of smiles. Every dish, hidden under a dome, comes as a bombshell for all the gourmets in the room. From the « Raviole de champignon » of Régis Marcon (logical for the one who won the prize with his book « Champignons » (Mushrooms) to « The Hibiscus », the dessert of Eric Guérin, through the zucchinis scales zander, sauerkraut, Riesling and sand shrimp infusion » of Nicolas Stamm, everything seems gathered for the guests to experience a wonderful evening. A breezy atmosphere from the beginning of the soirée and the entry in the mysterious chapel, hidden behind a solid wooden door and a black curtain. Quickly welcomed with a champagne glass of the latest cuvée « Collet Blanc de Noirs », the 130 guests of the evening just have to visit the chapel and its alcove where the 4 previous prizes are placed. It looks like the luxurious night hit its mark. An artistic path that sticks to the Art déco code of the Champagne Collet brand.