75, rue Saint-François
More than haute cuisine it is height cuisine: Emmanuel Renaut (called Manu le picard) has brought it to the blankets of snow of the Mont Blanc when he arrived here from the extreme North of France because of his love for the most outstanding of mountains... When he was young he dreamt of bike races but the example of his sommelier brother and the unforgettable souvenir of a dinner at Greuze in Tournus persuaded him to try different ways: «That restaurant seemed fabulous to me, the choreography in the hall, the cloche on the dishes, the silverware, the tastes...».
After the apprenticeship in Aisne he moved to Paris, passing from the Crillon to the Lotti and investing every single cent in restaurant industry. The decisive halt is Annecy with Marc Veyrat , where along three tremendous years he becomes chef de partie and then sous-chef. An experience in Cordes-sur-Ciel with Thuriès follows and then Veyrier-du-Lac where he catches the third star. «I could remain there all my life, but I swore to myself to settle before 30», he tells to justify his departure to the Claridge in London. However, at the feet of the mountain there is a farm waiting for him; already destined to a pizzeria, it overwhelms both he and his wife Kristine at first sight and so in 1998 they settle in Megève to establish Flocons de sel.
The beginning is difficult: 2 in the hall, 2 in the kitchen, no dishwasher and the banks always on the phone. However, three years are enough to obtain the first star, then the second one arrives and the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France. There is not much left of the chef with the large hat: herbs are sparingly strewed on the dishes defined by Manu «clear, precise, evanescent». Against the cliché of the mountain cooking, all made of fondue, raclette and necrophilic trophies, they feature colors and freshness of local products, which contrast the taste homologation with acid and bitter shades. He calls it «une cuisine à flanc des montagnes», beside them but also tangent, in the direction of the greatest naturalness. With him there is Nadine Voulette, a young woman full of promise.
Umbra di Perugia con residenza a Bologna, è giornalista e scrittrice di cucina. Tra i numeri volumi tradotti e curati, spicca "6, autoritratto della Cucina Italiana d’Avanguardia" per Cucina & Vini
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Mauro Colagreco celebrates 10 years at his Mirazur in Mentone with a series of special dinners with guest chefs, plus a menu retracing the most important steps in his delicious history. Interview by Carlo Passera for Identità Golose, photo and video by Tanio Liotta