In the Chef’s own words
The Head Chef
Laurent André: A new executive chef for the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel and the Café de la Paix.
The legendary Café de la Paix welcomes a Michelin-starred chef, Laurent André. This 48 year-old maestro arrives straight from a seven-year term in the kitchens of the Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris Hotel.
Starting October 12, Chef Laurent André will take over the kitchens of the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, veritable Parisian institution inaugurated in 1862. Passionate defender of seasonal cuisine featuring local and regional products, Laurent André will make his mark on Café de la Paix classics. “For me, real cooking begins when the ingredients taste like they are meant to. Cuisine is like a love story. I have to fall in love with the products and the people who produce them.”
The hotel’s General Manager, Mr. Laure, is delighted to welcome his new Chef: “Laurent André is luminous, intelligent, lively, creative and has a delicious personality. He is one of his generation’s most gifted chefs with the ability to run several kitchens simultaneously and earn them stars! He is in sync with the InterContinental Hotel, and will continue to develop the pedigree of the Café de la Paix. Laurent André will add his inimitable touch to the great classics like foie gras, tartare, sole and gratinée.”
As for Laurent André, his goal is to refine the identity of the Café de la Paix. “I would like to make the Café de la Paix a veritable place for exchange and reference in terms of French gastronomy, including Gnocchis à la parisienne made with choux pastry, traditional frog legs cooked in parsley butter or Burgandy escargots with herbs. I would also like to reach out to Parisians with more feminine dishes: green beans in a crisp salad served with European lobster medallions and button mushrooms sprinkled with delicate hazelnut oil and aged wine vinegar. Perhaps eggs mimosa with royal crab, or chicken breast cooked in bouillon served with winter vegetables. »
Originally from the Jura region in the east of France, he began his career with the renowned chef Alain Chapel in nearby Mionnay, in the Ain department. Working at his sides, Laurent André also discovered that being a chef requires commitment and humility. But this is a small price to pay when the profession gives so much in return, namely exceptional human bonds.
His Alain Ducasse experience
In 1992, Laurent André starts work as third commis at Louis XV, the 3-star restaurant at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco. In four short years, he rises through the ranks to become Chef de brigade. Alain Ducasse then offers him a new challenge: taking over La Grande Cascade in the Bois de Boulogne with Jean-Louis Nomicos. And a daunting challenge it is! Ducasse gives him one year to earn a Michelin star for the legendary restaurant. After running the Relais du Parc in Paris in 1998, Laurent André dreams of conquering new lands. In 2000, he heads for London where he opens the Spoon Food & Wine at the Sanderson hotel. His six-month project ends up lasting 3 years. Then Asia calls with an opportunity he can’t refuse: opening the Spoon Wine & Bar inside the Hong Kong InterContinental Hotel, and becoming executive chef for the entire hotel: 6 restaurants and 220 cooks!
Back in France in 2009, Laurent André returns to his roots, taking over the kitchens of the Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris Hotel. His talent is applauded by the Michelin guide which attributes a star to both of the restaurants: La Cuisine and Il Carpaccio (making it the only starred Italian restaurant in Paris).
Today, after working with his two mentors, Alain Chapel and Alain Ducasse, armed with a wide-range of experiences in France and abroad, Chef Laurent André is highly appreciated for his talent and his human touch. The fact he loves to transmit his knowledge is also a major asset for his craft. “I have acquired precious know-how. Today, I especially want to show-how, and let others put my knowledge into practice.”
When you join us at the Café de la Paix, you may be lucky enough to be greeted by Philippe and his welcoming smile!
Philippe Blanchet has been serving at the Café de la Paix for nearly three years now. This distinguished gastronome deftly deploys his talents and skills gained at a number of prestigious restaurants.
In fact, his vocation was handed to him on the proverbial tray: “My grandparents owned a hotel-restaurant in Quiberon, in Brittany. I spent most of my time there helping out, and was already cultivating a taste for the effervescence of the place, and the pleasure of serving others.”
Philippe, however, began his career far from Brittany, working at Parisian restaurants such as Marius et Jeannette and L’Arpège, Taillevent and Le Cinq. This connoisseur devotes himself to serving clients and making them happy, the same way a craftsman excels in his art. Then, one day, his path led him to the Café de la Paix, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“The Café de la Paix is an exceptional establishment that I encourage every Parisian to discover or rediscover. I love comparing the gilding and prestigious frescoes to the ones in Versailles!”
Throughout the years, the people and places, Philippe never saw himself working anywhere but in restaurants. He declares without hesitation: “Going to work is a pleasure. I never get bored there. My profession is one of sharing and encounters, which I strive to transmit to new recruits.”
He admits that sometimes, in the first moments of service, he plays a role, taking the phrase “performing one’s duties” to the letter. Nevertheless, his character is defined by his extreme generosity and professionalism and unfailingly instinctive service.
His pastime? Discovering new wines, delving into the technical details of the vats and barrels, and advising any clients who share his passion …
The Pastry Chef
Dominique Costa has been the Pastry Chef at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel since May 31st, 2010. He participates in the creation of the famous “Fashion Pastries” at the Café de la Paix. As a Chef he has great respect for products and tradition, an attitude which he is very happy to hand down to his team.
“Pastry has been a constant interest of mine, ever since I was 14. I remember that back then, I used to love going to get bread from the baker’s, for with my mother’s change, I would always buy a cake (an éclair, a Paris Brest, a strawberry tart etc), and on Saturdays I would even help the town’s baker to make croissants and pains au chocolat for the following morning. That helped me find my career path.
This profession is both very hard and wonderful. It gives you the possibility of having a multitude of things to produce in one day, be it viennoseries, cupcakes, simple desserts or complex creations, tiered cakes, a buffet, a fashion dessert and more. I really love working the products, giving customers a taste of a fun dream. In this trade, you have to be constantly alert as to what they wish, their expectations, in order to produce unforgettable desserts.
I have had a very rewarding career, for I was lucky enough to never be out of a job and to change employers on a regular basis, whether in France or abroad (from the Château Hotel Mont Royal to the Sheraton in Bora Bora). Indeed, in this trade, it is important to experience different ways of working with other chefs.
I have the utmost respect for Mr Thierry Bridron (Hotel Lutetia), who taught me about work, consistency, seriousness and knowledge. I consider him to be my father in career terms. As for my stint with the Alain Ducasse team, it was highly instructive in terms of working techniques, as well as on a personal level, for it allowed me to meet great chefs, especially Christophe Raoux, who is now my friend. Today, I am pleased to work with Laurent André at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel.
A team of experts working together to ensure your pleasure!
Whether in the kitchens, the pastry section or the dining rooms, a team of professionals is here to serve you and to answer your every need and desire.
The Café de la Paix enjoys the only brigade in Paris with over 100 people, spread across several worlds: the Gastronomic Restaurant, the Opera Square, the Opera Café and the Table d'Hôte.
All of our teams are driven by the same passion, working daily with respect towards products and their environment.