Of Blanc’s 3 Michelins and 2 protégés
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