Of Blanc’s 3 Miche­lins and 2 pro­tégés

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GE­ORGES BLANC has been run­ning the inn his grand­mother had opened in 1872 at Von­nas, a vil­lage in east­ern France whose present pop­u­la­tion is less than 3,000, and his sig­na­ture dish, the fa­mous Chicken Bresse cooked in cream and gar­lic sauce, is also his grand­mother’s legacy, but his fame doesn’t rest en­tirely on his fam­ily name. His fam­ily restau­rant, which earned its first Miche­lin star in 1929 and sec­ond in 1931, got the third un­der his lead­er­ship in 1981; four years later, in 1985, it scored an un­prece­dented 19.5/20 in the lo­cally revered Gault et Mil­lau guide.

Over the past four decades, Blanc has con­verted Von­nas into a gourmet vil­lage with 17 restau­rants, bak­eries and food stores, along with the old inn and a ho­tel, which has be­come a des­ti­na­tion for trav­ellers from around the world, and since 1986, he has been head­ing the com­mit­tee re­spon­si­ble for im­ple­ment­ing the ex­act­ing breed­ing stan­dards for the Chicken Bresse, which was de­scribed oh-so mem­o­rably by the first modern chron­i­cler of French haute cui­sine, Jean

An­thelme Bril­lat-Savarin, as “the queen of poul­try, the poul­try of kings.”

My big dis­cov­ery at the Ge­orges Blanc pop-up at

The Oberoi (on till Jan­uary

14) was that you can be a Miche­lin three-starred chef with­out go­ing over­board with ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. Blanc’s forte is the pas­sion with which he pre­serves recipes that have stood the test of time — his great­ness lies in the way in which he draws out the flavours and lets them co-ex­ist in com­plete har­mony.

Ge­orges Blanc’s pro­tégés Oliver Chardigny (left) and Florence Marechau

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