Les Chefs au Sommet d’Auron celebrates ten years of gastronomy, sharing, conviviality and friendship in the emblematic ski resort of the Mercantour which has become the Capital of Mountain Gastronomy.
Chefs au Sommet d’Auron: the tenth edition of the Mountain Gastronomy Festival was inaugurated on Saturday 15 January 2022 under the presidency of the chefs, starred or renowned, MOF or Maîtres Restaurateurs, who have sponsored the previous editions. The inauguration of the culinary festival was an opportunity to pay tribute to the most illustrious of chefs: Auguste Escoffier, with the screening in the Salle Rovery of the documentary film “Escoffier, a social vision” directed by Fabrice Roy. Noëlle and David Faure from SensÔriel in Nice hosted a show-cooking followed by the tasting of a cocktail created by Victor Delpierre, World Barista/Cocktail Champion, which illustrated this tasty and festive event, placed under the sign of conviviality and friendship.
Great cuisine at altitude
Les Chefs au Sommet d’Auron, the culinary event in the spectacular snow-covered peaks of the Mercantour in the Southern Alps, celebrates mountain gastronomy from Saturday to Thursday, enlioven by the talent of some fifteen renowned chefs. The restaurants participating in the festival in the resort of Auron, Saint-Damas-le-Selvage and Saint-Étienne de Tinée welcome each evening in their kitchens an “ephemeral” chef and pastry chef duo from the Côte d’Azur who perform the feat of concocting an exceptional four-handed dinner on unknown stoves.
Organic and locavore mountain food
Every evening at 8pm, different duos officiate in two or three restaurants to create an exceptional dinner. In a warm and authentic atmosphere, holidaymakers and inhabitants of the Tinée valley have the opportunity to experience sumptuous gastronomic menus at the unique and privileged price of 55 euros. Composed of an amuse-bouche, a starter, a main course and a dessert, the menus concocted by renowned chefs will delight the gourmet’s taste buds. The virtuosos of the piano put forward organic and Locavore products to honour the gastronomic wealth and quality products which the mountains and valleys of the Haut Pays abound in.
Tribute to Auguste Escoffier
As a birthday cake for the Chefs au Sommet d’Auron 2022, what better way to celebrate than to follow in the footsteps of the most illustrious of chefs, Auguste Escoffier, who made the excellence of French gastronomy known throughout the world. Journalist Fabrice Roy from Tourisme Culture Magazine has made a documentary on the “King of Chefs and Chef of Kings”. This film retraces the brilliant career of the illustrious chef and highlights, in addition to his influence on French gastronomy and his international influence, the great heart of this exceptional chef. Escoffier was indeed a precursor in the field of aid or pension funds for cooks and the fight against pauperism.
The screening took place in the presence of most of the sponsors of the previous editions: Jean-François Issautier (chef from Saint Etienne de Tinée), Jacques Chibois, Alain Llorca, Joël Garault, Philippe Joannes, Jacques Maximin, Christian Cottard, Virginie Basselot, Théo Mansi, David and Noëlle Faure (godfather and godmother of the 2020 edition), wearing their Disciples d’Escoffier scarf, as well as Jean-Claude Brugel (president of the Disciples d’Escoffier). Colette Fabron, the Mayor of Saint Etienne de Tinée accompanied by members of the municipal council also attended the screening.
The beginning of Auguste Escoffier
Auguste Escoffier was born on 28 October 1846 in Villeneuve-Loubet to a father who was a blacksmith. At the age of 13, he learned the basics of the trade from his uncle at the Restaurant Français in Nice for five years. In 1865, he joined the Petit Moulin Rouge, an elegant restaurant in Paris, as a commis rotisseur and then saucier. In 1870, the Franco-Prussian war was declared. Escoffier was mobilised as chef at the cuisine of the Rhine army headquarters in Metz, where his ideas on preserving and cooking helped to improve the daily fare. When Metz fell, he became chef for Marshal Mac Mahon, who was in captivity in Wisbaden. In 1873, after a winter season in Nice, he took over the kitchen – this time as chef – at the Petit Moulin Rouge, which was then frequented by the aristocracy and high-society faces of the day.
A decisive meeting with César Ritz
In 1878 he married Delphine Daffis, daughter of a Parisian publisher, who gave him three children. He sold his business in Cannes due to several deaths in his family. In 1863, L’Art Culinaire was published, a magazine in which Auguste Escoffier published his “Mémoires d’un cuisinier de l’Armée du Rhin” (Memoirs of a cook in the Rhine Army) and “L’alimentation du soldat en campagne” (The soldier’s diet on campaign). In 1884, he met César Ritz, director of the Grand Hôtel de Monte-Carlo, who invited him to take part in the kitchens in winter and those of the Grand National in Lucerne in summer. This meeting led to a long, friendly and fruitful collaboration, and the two friends established the rules of the luxury hotel business that are still in force today.
The cook’s bible
In 1890 Ritz and Escoffier took over the Savoy in London, the most prestigious and beautiful hotel of the time, which had been opened one year earlier. In 1898 they opened the Ritz on Place Vendôme in Paris and for a few months took over the kitchen. In 1899, the two men opened the Carlton in London, a place that was frequented by Sarah Bernhardt. In 1903, the first edition of the Culinary Guide was published, which became the bible for cooks. This guide was republished three times during Auguste Escoffier’s lifetime, in 1907, 1912 and 1921, and translated into over ten languages. In 1920, after 61 years of an exceptional career, he took a well-deserved retirement in Monte-Carlo.
A big-hearted chef
The profession of chef or pastry chef is a profession of love, passion and sharing. As soon as Auguste Escoffier took over the kitchen of the Petit Moulin Rouge, he established a more “human” atmosphere by banning alcohol in favour of a thirst-quenching drink. Throughout his career, he took an interest in others, fighting against the pauperism that was ravaging the working class.
To help the most destitute, at the Savoy in London, he offered the Little Sisters of the Poor the unused surplus from his kitchen, such as quail legs with rice. His social action led to the creation and prosperity of mutual aid or pension funds for cooks, which may have inspired future pension schemes.
A couple of chefs with a particularly creative culinary genius, Noëlle and David Faure of SensÔriel in Nice, offered a show-cooking as a gourmet amuse-bouche to the Chefs au Sommet d’Auron. David and Noëlle, his partner in adventure, share the same passion and take great pleasure in innovating, twisting and revisiting tradition. In a nod to Auguste Escoffier who predicted “that cooking will cease to be empirical and become scientific”, David and Noëlle have revisited the Gnocchi and made them “liquid” in a membrane that gives way in the mouth, releasing a purée, all flavoured with a chicken juice with chestnuts and a poultry broth linked to cream and white truffle paste from Alba.
Victor Delpierre, cocktail virtuoso
The show-cooking was accompanied by the invigorating notes of the tasty cocktail “Le Bellini façon Pêche Melba d’Auguste Escoffier” by Victor Delpierre, the talented and engaging World Barista/Cocktail Champion, World Champion “Coffee in good spirits”, creator of La Cuisine des Boissons. A cocktail virtuoso, Victor Delpierre enlivens the Festival with his creations and cocktail tastings. During the 2018 Chefs au Sommet d’Auron, he imagined the cocktail Le Riounet, which has become the official drink of the resort.
Illustrating the “Pêche Melba
“On the occasion of the anniversary of Chefs au Sommet d’Auron,” Victor says, “I wanted to create a festive cocktail to celebrate the tenth edition, so I selected Champagne as the main ingredient. Then, since this edition is Auguste Escoffier-themed, I wanted to highlight the creativity of this outstanding chef who codified gastronomy. While browsing through his creations, I made the connection between the “Bellini” (Champagne & peach) and the “Pêche Melba” (poached peach, vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis). After many tests to find the right balance, I am pleased to share with you this innovative recipe, with its sparkling combination of flavours: Auguste Escoffier’s Bellini Peach Melba by Victor Delpierre (for 2 people).
Make your own “Peach Melba Bellini” cocktail
Ingredients “Peach Melba” mix:
3cl White peach purée
3cl Blood peach puree
1cl Raspberry puree
1cl Passion fruit puree
0.5cl vanilla syrup
Method: Mix the ingredients together and keep chilled. When ready to serve, pour 10cl of Champagne into the champagne flutes, followed by 5cl of the chilled “Peach Melba” mixture. Gently stir with a spoon.
Discover the recipe (and many others) in video on his YouTube channel: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1qcBOKveL3U
If the Chefs au Sommet d’Auron is celebrating its tenth edition today, it is thanks to the generosity and loyalty of the major brands as well as small producers.
Relaxation and a touch of madness
Started with three or four chefs, the Chefs au Sommet d’Auron has been staging for a few years now about fifteen chefs of the region who display their talent in the restaurants of the valley and on the slopes of Auron. The Mountain Gastronomy Festival invites you to six days of gourmet celebration to be savoured without moderation, around an explosive recipe based on the flavours of our mountains, snow, sun, relaxation, plus a touch of madness and good humour for a real cure of flavours and well-being at the top of the Mediterranean Alps.
In the Salle Rovery, the chefs host gourmet happy hours, show cooking, cooking classes and other tastings with Victor Delpierre.
The inauguration evening ended with a tasty Raclette accompanied by charcuterie from the Alpine region at Les Pivotes, Catherine and Michel Guillot‘s restaurant at Hôtel L’Écureuil.
Les Chefs au Sommet d’Auron
From 15th to 20th January 2022
Restaurants in Auron, St Dalmas & St Etienne de Tinée
Information: Auron Tourist Office
+33 (0)4 93 23 02 66
All menus on www.auron.com
Photos ©Christophe Giraudeau & ©YesICannes.com photos taken with respect to the barrier gestures)
Chefs au Sommet d’Auron 2022, the inauguration in pictures
Click to enlarge – ©Christophe Giraudeau & ©YesICannes.com – All rights reserved (photos taken with respect to the barrier gestures)