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August 7, 2008updated Jul 29, 2015

Dinner of the Chefs Set in Paris

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

PARIS, FRANCE –Sixteen of the world’s most respected and talented grand chefs will come together in Paris to cook under one roof. And when the roof happens to be Le Grand Trianon in the magical Château de Versailles (in the Palace of Versailles), outside Paris, France, then it transforms a memorable event into a momentous occasion. This vision will turn into reality when the first Dinner of the Chefs is held on September 17, 2008.

It will undoubtedly be a unique opportunity to experience an evening of epicurean pleasures in the sheer, unadulterated luxury of Marie-Antoinette’s personal retreat, the haven of privacy given to her by Louis XVI in 1774.

Only 60 guests are invited to enjoy this ultra-exclusive experience, a banquet of 15 courses in the Salon des Cotelle whose walls will be adorned with fabulous scenes by the eponymous 17th century painter Jean Cotelle.

The Dinner of the Chefs will welcome 15 new creations and a selection of the rarest wines. The master chefs enlisted to recreate their finest dishes on the evening read like a “Who’s Who” in the world of haute, cuisine and all are celebrated in the Michelin red book.

The net profit of this special event will be donated to the International Foundation for Research on Alzheimer Disease (www.fondationifrad.org), chaired by Dr. Olivier de Ladoucette, alongside their Good Will Ambassador Alain Delon.

To compliment such sumptuous surroundings, the table will be provided by some of the greatest names in French design. They have secured the support of famous “Maisons des Arts de la Table” to give the best craftsmanship France can provide. Also lending its flair and expertise to the evening is a collaboration of some of the greatest hotels in the world: Le Bristol, The Crillon, Four Seasons Hotel George V, The Meurice, The Plaza Athenee and the Trianon Palace & Spa.

On arrival at the airport in Paris, all guests will be taken in their own chauffeur-driven limousines to their luxury hotel and then on to the Château, where they will be greeted by Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the chairperson of the Domaine de Versailles, and Pierre Arizzoli-Clementel, the Managing Director of Museum and Domaine de Versailles. An exclusive visit to the private estate of Queen Marie-Antoinette is then planned before a cocktail reception under the colonnades of the elegant courtyard. Beyond will be a view of the gardens, illuminated by thousands of candles, flickering in the twilight.

As an additional special souvenir, ladies are being offered a specially commissioned Sèvres breakfast set—a magnificent replica of Marie-Antoinette’s porcelain mug and saucer. They will also receive an exclusive fragrance of Guerlain, in a monogrammed bottle.

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For the gentlemen, there will be an exclusive edition monogrammed case containing three very rare wines, a flask of vintage Hennessy Cognac and a lovely magnum of Dom Ruinart—a very special selection made by Andreas Larsson, Best Sommelier of the World 2007. They will also receive a limited edition “Dinner of the Chefs” apron embroidered in golden letters, from the renowned Bragard House.

“As the creator of the Dinner of the Chefs I wanted to create something very special with a selection of the most talented chefs, something rare, dedicated to these magicians who have this power of enchanting our palate. Beyond experience, knowledge and knack, there resides in every Chef the soul of a poet where free spirit prevails over pure logic,” said René-Julien Praz, creator and executive producer, Dinner of the Chefs.

“The ultimate cultural ambassador, fine cuisine expresses in a universal manner the degree of perfection and refinement attained by a people. It is the very idea that we seek to convey to you through the Dinner of the Chefs. A never-before gastronomic experience, bringing together almost 40 Michelin stars in order to offer you the best works of these creators and, allow you to participate in the most important of all causes: research on Alzheimer Disease.”

The Chefs:

Yannick Alleno, Chef at Hotel Meurice – Paris:
Yannick Alleno is one of those young chefs in their thirties who bring freshness and daring to their cooking. He apprenticed at such renowned hotels as the Lutétia, the Royal Monceau and the Sofitel Porte de Sèvres. The celebrated Escoffier competition opened the doors of Drouant to him. He remained there for five years before taking over at the restaurant of the Hôtel Scribe, thanks to the support of Paul Bocuse. The Bocuse d’Argent firmly in hand and two years of hard work later, he obtained a second Michelin star for the Scribe. Four years later he came to the Meurice, the prestigious restaurant on the rue de Rivioli for which he obtained a second star in 2004 and a third in 2007.
After four years at the head of the Meurice, Yannick Alleno is clearly recognized as the new star of his generation. http://www.meuricehotel.com/restaurants_bars/chef.html

Jean-Pierre Biffi, Chef of Catering at Potel & Chabot – Paris:
Jean-Pierre Biffi was born in an Italian family, at Mirande in the Gers region of France. It was his grandmother, an astounding cook famous for making the local middle class’s mouths water, who gave him the desire to wear the cook’s attire. In 1970, he discovered the wonders of “foie gras” with André Daguin. From 1972 to 1975, he studied in the cookery school of Toulouse. In 1975, he started in Paris at the famous Café de la Paix of the Grand Hotel Intercontinental, followed by the Hotel Bristol aside Jean-Paul Bonin. In 1980, he joined the Crillon Hotel, and for seven years, he was the right arm of the kitchen chef and was awarded the National Trophy of Cuisine during this assignment. In 1987, he became the chef and marketing director of Maxim’s restaurant, and then joined the caterer Potel & Chabot to manage the kitchens as organizer of international caliber receptions (New York, Prague, Budapest, Marrakech, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Venice, Singapore, and Dubai). His aim, beyond the recipe, is to find sources to astonish and surprise, working on the products and the dishes, but also on the staging, table decoration, lighting and music. http://www.poteletchabot.com

Michel and Sebastien Bras, Chefs of Restaurant Bras – Laguiole:
Michel Bras took his first steps towards becoming a professional cook by tending the stove in his mother’s kitchen at the family run hotel-restaurant, “Lou Mazuc.” Unlike most chefs who undergo an apprenticeship before setting out on their own, Michel was largely self-taught and created his own culinary world by drawing on the native tradition of his beloved Aubrac. Opened in 1992, Michel Bras’ restaurant is granted a three star rating by the Michelin Guide seven years later. Built in a very secluded venue, at the top of a hill, the Bras family estate is ingenuously molded in a wild landscape made of stone, greenery and light. Son Sebastien Bras, 36 years old, is also part of the team. “We get along very well, my father and I,” says Sebastien. “We do not fear or feel any generation gap. What my father did 20 years ago was very avant-garde and still is today, so we have a lot in common. A culinary symphony to be discovered with your five senses.” http://www.michel-bras.com/

Eric Fréchon, Chef of Hotel Bristol – Paris:
After a studious apprenticeship with Christian Constant at the Crillon Hotel, followed by restaurant Taillevent, Eric Fréchon completed his academic training at restaurant La Tour d’Argent. Originating from Normandy, Eric started his professional career by opening his own gastronomic bistro: La Verrière. This first experience was a success, but he was rapidly noticed and hired by the owners of Hotel Bristol. This is how he arrived at the head of the kitchens of this Palace in 1999, where he settled in perfectly and renewed the image of this great hotel. Attracting considerable attention, he was awarded the famous distinction of “Best Craftsman of France.” Innovative, ingenious and creative, Eric Fréchon conquered celebrity step by step and obtained the famous Michelin stars thanks to his beautifully classic and modern cuisine. The mouth to ear confirms this success story; his style gradually expresses itself through the marriage of great classic French dishes and the most bizarre mixtures. (so he says!) A liberty, an inventiveness and sheer mischief are the distinctive signs of a young chef who has the talent to propose the best products in order to transform as well as sublimate them. http://www.hotel-bristol.com/default.htm

Ken Hom, consultant chef to the Oriental Restaurant Group:
Born in Arizona, Ken Hom became a brilliant student of art history. Between classes in Chicago, Ken made his cooking debut helping out on weekends at his uncle’s Chinese restaurant. To finance his studies, Ken gave cooking lessons that became so popular he was soon invited to join the famous Culinary Academy where he met some of the great American chefs. When BBC television searched for a Chinese chef to present a new program, Ken applied for the position and was immediately hired. An adept student of the fundamental principals of Yin and Yang, Ken Hom’s cooking is directly inspired by the ancient Far East philosophies that preach the harmony of body and soul. Ken has become a worldwide star and ambassador of contemporary Chinese cuisine.

Marc Meneau, Restaurant L’Espérance – Vezelay:
Born in Avalon, Marc Meneau entered the Hotellerie School at Strasbourg in the 1960s. He made a lightening debut, earning his first Michelin star in 1972, his second in 1976. Marc Meneau runs “l’Esperance” at Saint Père-sous-Vézelay, a magnificent bourgeois mansion that he bought in his home village, a place where elegance and refinement come together. Bearing the Relais & Château label, l’Esperance boasts two stars in the Michelin Red Guide and a 19/20 rating in Gault et Millau. In 1983 Marc Meneau was elected “Best Chef of the Year.” This child of the region prepares elaborately baroque cuisine, a knowing mixture of Burgundian bourgeois tradition and poetic license that flatters the senses. A man of great culture, he co-authored with Annie Caen, the “Gourmet Museum,” “Monastic Cuisine,” “Cuisine en Fête,” and “Cuisine and Painting.” http://www.marc-meneau-esperance.com/uk/navigation.htm

Christophe Michalak, Chef Patisserie at the Plaza Athénée – Paris:
The absolute star of pastry, the “Rambo” of chocolate, the “Bruce Lee” of floating islands, the “Casanova” of sugar, the “Wizard of Oz” of cream. He got involved by greediness for custard pies and at the age of 15, decided to become a patisserie. With perseverance, courage and will, he moved on with training courses and odd jobs in the greatest palaces in the world, passing through London, Brussels, Tokyo and New York. But it is in the cradle of refinement and fine Parisian taste that Michalak developed his art, at Fauchon followed by the famous Ladurée house. However, his true luxury is above all his talent. Michalak is a cake genius. While remaining faithful to his vow of simplicity by revisiting the great classics of patisserie, this undisputed artist however tries every single day to surprise us with his desserts where taste and beauty cannot be separated. In 2005, he won the Patisserie World Championship. His kid’s dream to become Superman did not work out, however, this eternal romantic has become the super hero with a white toque at the Plaza Athenée, the most fashionable palace of the City of Lights since 2000. http://www.plaza-athenee-paris.fr

Jean-Louis Nomicos, Chef of Restaurant Lasserre – Paris:
Born in Marseille, Jean-Louis Nomicos still remembers those grand Sunday lunches of his youth under the fig trees at his grandparents’ house. At the age of 16, Jean-Louis debuted at the restaurant ‘l’Oursinade.’ Then for five years, he studied under Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco. He moved to Paris and became head chef at La Grande Cascade in the Bois de Boulogne, and in 2001 he took up the relay at the restaurant Lasserre where he is executive chef. The choice of ingredients and their authenticity represent an essential first step for Jean Louis Nomicos who maintains close relations with his suppliers. He insures that his foie gras comes from les Landes, his fish from Carantec, his beef from Salers, his potatoes from Chez Clos, etc. His cuisine, which cleverly plays off the savors of the Mediterranean, is classical haute gastronomy but veritably contemporary. http://www.restaurant-lasserre.com

Alain Passard, Restaurant L’Arpège – Paris:
Philosopher in the art of observation, Philippe Legendre is the most zen of all chefs and insists on total silence in his kitchen in order to better concentrate. He demands total commitment to the “product” from his co-workers. That’s where things are born, he says.
Each month he works with new ingredients with total precision: no room for error or for out-of-season results. If a produce is only at its best for a few days, it won’t stay on his menu any longer than that. By deciding to favor vegetables, even as he arrives at the summit – three stars in the Red Guide – Alain Passard embarks on a new path. http://www.alain-passard.com/

Gerald Passedat, Chef at Le Petit Nice Passédat – Marseille:
Born in 1960, son of Jean-Paul Passedat and grandson of Germain Passedat, cook at the restaurant le Petit Nice since 1917. Le Petit Nice was at the original La Villa Corinthe, perched on the rocks along the seaside, facing the Château d’If and Frioul Islands. He entered the restaurant school in Nice and learned the trade at Coq Hardi in Bougival, at the Bristol Hotel in Paris, at the Hotel de Crillon with JP Bonin, at Troisgros brother’s restaurant in Roanne and then at Guerard in the south west of France. In 1985, at 25 years old, he’s back with his father Jean-Paul in Marseilles (two Michelin stars in 1981) and successor to him. In 1999, Gerald met Ferran Adrià, the molecular cuisine inventor, and became fond of the idea. He gets supplies from the fishermen of Marseilles. His menu is made of 98% of fish and shellfish and 2% of meat, with a fondness for some of forgotten fish such as tub gurnard and red scorpion fish, others modest local fish such as the girelle, saran and mostelle. In 2008, heading 49 employees, he’s been granted with a Michelin third star. http://www.petitnice-passedat.com/

Jean-François Piege, Restaurant Les Ambassadeurs Hôtel de Crillon:
As a young boy, Jean-François Piège enjoyed snail hunting, mushroom picking and fishing, and started experiencing his taste buds within the marvelous territory of the Rhone valley. At the age of 14, he started with Jacques Manière, one of the inventors of the Nouvelle Cuisine, then he studied at the hotel school “to learn how to enjoy” before working in different restaurants “to learn how to do.” After working in the kitchens of the Elysée Palace, residence of the French president, during his military service, he continued with Alain Ducasse at both the restaurant Louis XV in Monte Carlo and at the Plaza Athenée in Paris. Since February 2004, Jean-François Piège manages a team of 25 persons at the Ambassadeurs, the restaurant of the Hotel Crillon on the Concorde Square.
In his cooking book “Côté Crillon, côté maison” published by Flammarion, Jean-François Piège reveals his recipes such as the lobster snack, the boned young pigeon with foie gras, the sea bass with oyster tapioca. Even today, he can open any page of “La France à la Carte” from Gault et Millau and recite the recipe of the praline tart or the shellfish aspic. http://www.crillon.com/

Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, Restaurant le Jardin des Sens – Montpellier:
Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, identical twins and sons of wine-growers, decided before rejoining together, to live their passion for cuisine separately, therefore cumulating experience and culinary culture. Laurent Pourcel worked with Michel Bras and Alain Chapel, and Jacques worked with Michel Trama, Marc Meneau and Pierre Gagnaire. In 1988, they opened their restaurant Jardin des Sens after falling in love with a small end-of- the-century abandoned house, only minutes away from the centre of Montpellier. They transformed the decor giving it a resolutely modern atmosphere and sculpted a superb Mediterranean garden. In 1998, Michelin awarded the twins their third star. With the former patisserie of the Jardin des Sens, they created the Bakery of Sweet Savours and the Cuisine Workshop to welcome all cuisine amateurs. They opened the restaurant Senses and Savours in Japan, revived the restaurant Maison Blanche in Paris as well as launched a line of cutlery and table accessories. Their name is presently renowned in Bangkok, London and Barcelona: the Pourcel brothers delight us all over the world with their magnificent sensitive cuisine. www.jardindessens.com

Gordon Ramsay, chef of Restaurant Gordon Ramsey at Trianon Palace – Versailles:
Scottish by birth, Gordon Ramsay’s first career break came while playing football for Oxford United. Three years later he had given up professional football and gone back to college to complete a course in hotel management. Once in London, Gordon joined Marco Pierre White in the early days of Harvey’s. After a couple of years he moved to Le Gavroche to work alongside Albert Roux. This was followed by three years of working in France, in the kitchens of Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon. In October 1993, Gordon became chef of the newly opened Aubergine where he won two Michelin stars within three years of opening. In 1998 at the age of 31, Gordon set up his first owned restaurant, Gordon Ramsay. A year later, he opened Pétrus in St. James’s. Within seven months it had won a Michelin star. In June 2000 Gordon won “The Chef of the Year” Award at the Cateys. His restaurant Gordon Ramsay was voted the “Top Restaurant in the UK.” The fifth international restaurant, Gordon Ramsay at Powerscourt, opened in October 2007 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Powerscourt, Ireland. In November 2007, Gordon opened Maze Prague at the Hilton Old Town. Further international openings are planned for this year in Los Angeles, Paris and Amsterdam, and it will also be the year that Gordon opens a restaurant at the newly built Richard Rogers designed Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. http://www.gordonramsay.com

Gary Rhodes, Rhodes W1 – London:
Gary was born in South London and began cooking as a teenager, preparing family meals while his mother was at work. His first job was a chef at the Amsterdam Hilton, where he began to experiment with nouvelle cuisine. Success was swift and Gary went on and retained his first Michelin Star, at just 26 years of age. His first foray into the world of T.V. was at the age of 27 in the “Hot Chefs” series and it wasn’t long before he was given his own program, which has made him a household name. Following his dream, Gary Rhodes cooked for Queen Elisabeth II, the Orient Express, Princess Diana, Jordan Formula One team, the British team at La Mans, and his beloved Manchester United. Famous and celebrated all over the country, in 2004 he opened his first Rhodes restaurant outside the UK at the stunning Calabash Hotel in Grenada, West Indies. Gary Rhodes’ legendary dedication to his craft and relentless pursuit of perfection has placed him firmly at the forefront of today’s culinary world. http://www.rhodesw1.com

Michel Roth, Chef of the kitchens of the Paris Ritz Hotel:
At 40-years-old, the quiet but cordial Michel Roth presides almightily over the destinies of the kitchens of the Paris Ritz Hotel. As long as he can remember, cooking has always fascinated him. From this true and pure passion for the art of gastronomy, he developed an authentic talent that over the years brought him to the summit of recognition. Regularly rewarded, this young chef cannot stop accumulating honors as he proudly represents his native Lorraine region. Taittinger award in 1985, Best Craftsman of France and Gold Bocuse awards in 1991, he adds final touches to his career at Ledoyen and Lasserre restaurants before taking over the management of the kitchens of the famous hotel located on Place Vendome in 2001. Surrounded by a team of 80 collaborators, Michel Roth is resolutely oriented towards the future by practicing a cuisine that concentrates on the power and the openness of savours, as well as privileging through a real artist talent represented with his dishes. When creativity combines with aestheticism, the enjoyment of the hosts of the Hotel Ritz is at its maximum. http://www.ritzparis.com/jump_to.asp?id_target=13121&id_lang=2

Charlie Trotter, Charlie Trotter’s – Chicago:
Charlie Trotter is definitely one of the most creative stars among the culinary world of the United States. Not willing to ride on its success, Charlie Trotter’s is continuously forging new directions and has been instrumental in establishing new standards of fine dining worldwide. His cuisine is recognized by a variety of prestigious national and international institutions. Wine Spectator named the restaurant “The Best Restaurant in the World for Wine & Food” and “America’s Best Restaurant.” In 2004, Chef Trotter was awarded the “Humanitarian of the Year” award by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for his overall service to the community. http://www.charlietrotters.com

Andreas Larsson, Best Sommelier of the world 2007:
2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 Best Sommelier of Sweden; 2004 Best Sommelier of Europe (Trophée Ruinart); 2005 Wine international Sommelier
Andreas Larsson is currently the best Sommelier of the world and the best Sommelier of Europe (Trophée Ruinart Meilleur Sommelier d’Europe 2004).
Today, he is considered the leading sommelier and wine taster in Sweden and abroad.
He has a special affinity for the classical French vineyards, the evolution in Spain, great Riesling, Sherry and Champagne. Andreas Larsson started his career as a chef in 1990 after graduating from restaurant school and worked active as a chef for several years. After some brief periods of combining the cuisine with playing jazz music he decided to focus more on his interest for wine and the world of beverages. After a lot of traveling and studying, Andreas got his sommelier diploma at “Restaurangakademien” in Stockholm 1999. Larsson works today for the restaurant PM&Vänner in Växjö. He is the consultant Sommelier for Asian Airlines. He is a lecturer at various sommelier educations in Scandinavia and a frequent contributor to various wine publications in Sweden and abroad. http://www.andreaslarsson.org

The rate of this package is 22,000 Euros per person, which includes:
∑ Transfers at your arrival at one of the Paris airports and back
∑ Transfer to and from Versailles on September 17
∑ The private recital at the Pavillon Français
∑ The Dinner of the Chefs
∑ The gifts
The full pre-payment is requested for confirmation and is non-refundable.

For more information contact Laurent Colsy, Project Manager, Lafayette Travel at + 33 (0) 155 047 979, + 33 (0) 682 653 915, laurent.colsy@lafayette-travel.com, or visit the dinner’s website at www.thedinnerofthechefs.com.

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