Benoit was born in Colmar and started training in a 3-star restaurant in his native Alsace. After two years with Paul Bocuse in Lyon, he continued his apprenticeship of fine cuisine under Gaston Lenôtre at the Pré Catelan in Paris before joining Alain Ducasse and his team in 1987 for the opening of the restaurant Louis XV at the Hôtel de Paris, a step that marked his career. For more than three years he was able to learn everything about the chef’s philosophy. With more experience and a few years later, Alain Ducasse entrusted him with the position of chef in his spiritual home, Bastide de Moustiers (Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle’s sister inn), where he worked from 1996 to 1999.
From there, he moved to green Provence and discovered the charms of the Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle, where he continues to focus on the importance of the “real taste” of food – not only to guests taking part in the cookery classes that he gives, but also to his team.
At Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle, Benoit combines Provencal products from land and sea using seasonal ingredients, many taken from the kitchen garden at the inn. The menus are determined by what is ripe and ready in the garden on that particular day. In terms of produce, the Hostellerie focuses on local ingredients and therefore uses items such as fish, cheese, fruit, and vegetables that all come from within a 20-30km radius of the inn.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 5 words...
Generosity, authenticity, respect, sincerity and simplicity are the five values I keep in mind while cooking. It is important for my brigade and me to share them with our visitors through our cuisine.
How did you feel when you were awarded your first Michelin star?
It was a honour as well as a great satisfaction for my team and me. We were very proud of our collective achievement and it strengthened our team spirit.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Nature, because every season is different from each other and has a lot to offer. Whenever I lack inspiration, I simply walk down the alleys of the garden of l’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle or exchange ideas with my producers and my brigade.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
I see no reason for me to leave to a desert island since I live and work in such a marvelous region. (smile)
- Michelin star, 2006
10, Place Général de Gaulle
83170 La Celle
+33 4 98 05 14 14