Fre nch Flair
Culinary master Pierre Gagnaire explains why he decided to personally operate the resort’s French fine-dining venue, La Maison 1888
Pierre Gagnaire, the storied master chef who is touted as one of the most influential of all time, is visibly excited. He’s scrolling through his iphone, playing blasts of soul and old-school rhythm ’n’ blues by Otis Redding and Canned Heat. Music is a huge passion for this fine-dining giant and he uses it to relax ahead of big moments—such as his inaugural dinner at La Maison 1888, the plush restaurant of the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort.
La Maison 1888, designed as a stately home for a fictional family of globetrotting misfits with eclectic tastes, is a strangely appropriate stage for Gagnaire’s style of cuisine, which sees local ingredients collide with unexpected counterpoint flavours, a technique that has made him extremely popular among the current crop of star chefs.
Gagnaire, in his heavily accented but energetic, expressive English, describes why he accepted the job: “I am a fan of Vietnamese food. It is delicate, healthy. Very humble but elegant,” he enthuses, before describing how nine years earlier he experienced his Eureka moment while eating a simple shrimp and mint dish at a farm in the Danang area.
He explains, “Vietnam is a fantastic country for food culture and also its relationship with France. There are many Vietnamese restaurants all around France—vietnamese food is very involved in the culture of France. What I hope to create at La Maison 1888 is a real signature that respects the culture of the area. I also want to create the opportunity for guests to taste my style.” To achieve this, Gagnaire himself will spend one week, three or four times per year, in the kitchen to personally create the dishes; at other times of the year, his hand-picked team will run the restaurant. The chef is famous for building and retaining loyal talent across his numerous operations, and La Maison 1888 should be no different.
He concludes, “I will give an opportunity to my team, who love what they do. We have the feeling that we are not working for the company, but for the guests.”
“WHAT I HOPE TO CREATE AT LA MAISON 1888 IS A REAL SIGNATURE THAT RESPECTS THE CULTURE OF THE AREA. I ALSO WANT TO CREATE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GUESTS TO TASTE MY STYLE”
Pierre Gagnaire’s style of cuisine— vibrant dishes that combine local produce with deft, unexpected counterpoints—is perfect for the eclectic setting of La Maison 1888