special Envoy to Courchevel

big tears roll on the white shirts of the cooks and jackets black of the masters of hotel. Standing at the pass, as was his habit since 55 years, Michel Rochedy directs the briefing of the teams of the Chabichou, the 2-star hotel in Courchevel. But this Sunday, the 7th of march, it is his last. His wife, Maryse, is at his side. The faithful mate and alter ego, Stéphane Buron, meilleur ouvrier de France (MOF, promotion mythical 2004), more than 30 years, will replace it from next winter, assisted by his wife, Sylvie. As exhibits of relics a day of celebration carillonnée, it comes out of their sockets his medal of MOF to the tricolour ribbon and his trophy of the prix Taittinger. When he had won the first, Michel Rochedy had dressed with masthead ensign the Chabichou for the return of her foal, welcomed as a head of State or a victorious general. “We’re going to still make a good service this evening,” ordered the boss, all pale with emotion. “Yes, chef!”, meets the team, as a single man.

arctic Char confit, endive and caviar. BARRET Philippe

The young woman of the home had warned, with his delicious accent: “tonight, it’s going to be very emotional. Yesterday already, the clients, they were crying all.” Thursday, 4, Michel Rochedy had launched the ceremony of farewell with a meal for a hundred friends. At the age of 82, the chef at the beautiful mouth of uncle big-time gambler goes hand. The property, previously owned entirely by his family, has been acquired by October 2018, by an investor, Jean-Claude Lavorel ; it will reopen its doors at the end of 2019 after some renovations.

The history of Rochedy is inseparable from that of the station. In 1963, the young Michel, the son of innkeepers in the ardèche, formed in Valencia by legend André Pic, looking to move to his account. He hears of a fund to resume, at 1850 m altitude, in a hamlet which has not yet become the most luxurious place of appointment snowy of France. On the spot, he sees a pretty young woman climb on a stepladder. She has blue eyes. Her blouse is torn. Love at first sight. Michel and Maryse will become inseparable. Their first Christmas at the Chabichou – so named after a character colorful operetta Sidonie Panache – is full of love, but empty of customers. The two lovebirds cry by eating each half-dozen oysters.

“What is best in France”

The lean period will be of short duration. Quickly, sporting and gourmet discover the kitchen Michel Rochedy – a lot of vegetables and fish, an audacity in the era of the béarnaise triumphant – and the comfort spartan of the few rooms to rent. When the last client is lying, the bosses come out of the camp beds and sleeping in the dining room. Then come the stars of the 60’s, Eddie Barclay in the head. The stay of Brigitte Bardot triggers a riot. Fernand Raynaud monte also recover his health. “It was nice and sad,” recalled the boss. One day, at the end of years 70, one comes to the look in the kitchen: “Chief, chief, president of the Republic on the phone!” Sensing a joke with one of his buddies pranksters, Bocuse or Troisgros, Michel Rochedy responds by imitating Georges Marchais. But, at the other end of the wire, this is the real Giscard, who reserve a table for himself and his family. The “best of France”, wrote the president on the guestbook before you leave.

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“a month ago, we’ve brought together some of our customers the most ancient”

Michel Rochedy

At about the same time, the Chabichou is becoming in 1979 the first starred restaurant in the village. The second macaron falls in 1984. But the ruling family, who works hard, and reinvests every dime in his hotel, did not want to make the institution more comfortable, a palace of more. This is a great family home where there would be both a lavish spa and a relaxed atmosphere. The chief does not hesitate to push the song to the time of the génépi. The regulars are aging from season to season, their children take over. “A month ago, tells the story of Michel Rochedy, we’ve brought together some of our customers the most ancient. Among them, the spouses Sense, who came every year for 45 years.”

Last salvation of the artist Tartare of féra from the lake to the oil sobacha with an ice cream and chervil. the chabichou

On Sunday, march 7, the restaurant was full for dinner. A crowd family of ten covered in several families with children, a couple of English – Sir, tattooed as a third line centre and tanned as only the British know how to do (cooking point), Ms, more discreet, and less roasted. Four Russians, three men and a woman, engaged in a ascent part of the domaine de la Romanée-Conti: a bottle of the-task for a start, one of richebourg to follow and prepare the ground for the spirits. The plates parade: tartare of féra from the lake to the oil sobacha with an ice cream and the chervil, arctic char confit, endive and caviar, veal sweetbreads with fresh vegetables, tart meringue chestnut (with a nod to the Ardèche) and ice to the old rum… A kitchen is legible, tasty and nicely presented, which, without doubt, worth its two stars in the Michelin guide and 18/20 in the Gault&Millau. “Keep it simple, you might be right,” said Curnonsky, formula that Rochedy and Buron love quote and put it into practice.

“I was one day compared to one of those pure-blood continue to run after their retirement racetrack”

Michel Rochedy

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At 21h40, the chief comes to make his rounds of the dining room. Customers who know that this is the last salvation of the artist rise up to applaud, others to imitate them, you explain to them the situation. Maryse joined her husband, the brigade comes out of the kitchen and, with staff room, form a hedge which will burn the palms to honor “Mr. and Mrs.”. We cry a lot. Then, the selfies of committed and chiefs of party with Michel Rochedy, strung together in front of the pianos in Stainless steel. Perched on spectacular heels, the huge young Russian woman comes to seek his will ; it is placed between “Mr. and Mrs.” that it protrudes from the head and shoulders, while his three friends, less sentimental, resume du calvados. The husband Rochedy will leave Courchevel for their great house of the Ain, to Soudon. “I was one day compared to one of those pure-blood continue to run after their retirement of the hippodromes”, smiles Michel. It should not be surprising to find, in a few months, before a new password.

Hotel Le Chabichou. 90, route of Hoary, Courchevel 1850, Saint-Bon-Tarentaise (73120). Tel.: 04 79 08 00 55.

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