Thanks to his Tuscan mother who ran her own small wood-fired pizza business, Christian was immersed in the world of good cooking and good eating from a young age. Proud of his Mediterranean roots, he celebrates them wholly in his cooking. Using local ingredients and produce of the highest quality carefully selected from artisan farmers, producers and breeders in the region, the chef brings flavor to the forefront.
Christian began his professional culinary journey in 1989 after earning a French vocational training certificate as a cook. He took his first position as an apprentice chef alongside Christian Willer at Hôtel Martinez, and then joined the team at Michelin-starred La Côte at Hôtel Carlton working under Sylvain Duparc as second commis chef.
In 1993, the young cook moved to the stunning beachside town of Biarritz to work with at Meilleur Ouvrier de France Jean-Marie Gauthier in the luxe Hôtel du Palais. Soon hereafter, his career catapulted as he gained experience at numerous renowned Michelin-starred restaurants including 2* La Belle Otero in Cannes, Antoine Westermann’s 3* Buerehiesel in Strasbourg and Alain Ducasse’s 3* Louis XV in Monaco.
In 2001, he returned to Hôtel Martinez and once again formed part of Christian Willer’s team. For several years he worked alongside Willer before the chef named Sinicropi as his successor in 2007. Now boasting 2 Michelin stars, 4 Toques and 18/20 in the Gault&Milau guide, Christian Sinicropi’s culinary genius has blossomed at La Palme d’Or.
As Executive Chef of not only the gourmet restaurant, but of the entire Hôtel Martinez, the Christian channels his creativity and style into the gastronomic artistry present at each of the establishment’s dining venues. Described as genuine and rustic, his cuisine is framed by an artistic and poetic vision where each of his original gastronomic plates are a beautiful ode to Provence in all her glory.
Every part of the dining experience is important to Sinicropi, and so he has put great care into designing the tableware with his wife Catherine and brand e=sc2. After studying the ceramist craft at Écoles des Beaux-Arts with his wife, the couple began producing their own ceramic creations, from cutlery to plates and decorative items, for use in the restaurant to complete his holistic vision for La Palme d’Or. The pair also collaborate with many artists to bring unique works of tableware art to the restaurant.
Located on the first floor of the hotel overlooking La Croisette, La Palme d’Or encapsulates the majesty of the locale. With interior décor by Sybille de Margerie, the restaurant is the ultimate homage to the Cannes Film Festival. The gold-clad space overflows with glamor, from the flooring etched with stylized palms to the bronze statues, celebrity portraits, ambient lighting and breathtaking views.
The innovative menu, which is presented in the shape of a cube, is based on the principle of movement. The philosophy is anchored in sharing the beauty of living things while exploring new realms in cuisine. Throughout the menu, each ingredient is embraced as being in a state of constant change.
Tell us more about the concept of ‘movement’ and how is it central to the menu?
The cuisine of chef Sinicropi is so inventive and audacious that it can be savored in a “Movement”; a special menu which offers a unique tasting experience of the same Product (or family of products) cooked in three different ways and served in three services (and sometimes more) in specially crafted ceramic plates… This is a complete culinary identity in every sense of the term.
How does he choose which three ways to cook the same ingredient; does he often come up with more?
The executive chef’s philosophy can be summed up in a few words: “I selected seasonal products most of all from the region, boasting rustic, rich and authentic tastes. This explosion puts our senses on red alert and brings out our primal instinct for true taste, which is the essence of pleasure for body and mind. With this in mind, our guests discover a map of combined features, including the product, textures, measures and tastes. This is a fluid, rich initiatory journey through gastronomy, across my cuisine, my region and my Mediterranean.”
Tell us about the menu’s Cube shape…
The menu design is inspired by dice. On each side, the guests can play discovering the different Movements.
Original, playful but not only that… This new Menu format is hands-free, like the Chef himself. When an expected product is not available in the market, or not delivered on time, or if the quality of the product is not up to the chef’s standards, there is no concession possible. “We do not cheat with the product” as Christian Sinicropi likes to say. The product in question is then immediately removed from the corresponding face of the “Cube” and replaced. This reactivity was not possible before on the pre-printed Menus and this is how the idea of the dice emerged in the Chef’s mind.
Tell us more about the crockery line designed by Christian and his wife, used in the restaurant…
The dishes used at La Palme d’Or have been developed and designed by Christian Sinicropi, and created by Catherine Sinicropi. After discovering the secret of the ceramic world, Christian started with his wife at his side to create the original plates which will be dedicated to his culinary creations. Christian and Catherine have both followed a year’s course in the famous “Beaux-Arts” (Fine Art School of Ceramics) in Vallauris, a well-known city which inspired Picasso in his own ceramic work. In 2010, they finally launched their first spring/summer collection. The chef holds dear this “Tailor-made, French craft, which is also born of a unique, regional culture…”
In his artistic quest for amazing encounters in life, Christian works to create the ceramic plates in collaboration with several French renowned artists such as Steph Cop, Alexöne, Shaka, Moya…
During the Cannes Film Festival, for the annual and exclusive Dinner of the Jury held at La Palme d’Or, Chef Sinicropi creates every year a menu dedicated to the film-making career of the President. Each dish is served in a specially created ceramic sample with the theme of a movie. We can mention as main courses “Alice in Wonderland” which has been created and served when Tim Burton was President. The dish “Taxi Driver” was served to Robert De Niro. “Jaws” was created for Steven Spielberg… The dish “Mad Max” for George Miller… and other creations were imagined to honor Jane Campion, the Coen brothers, Cate Blanchett…
- 2 Michelin stars at La Palm d’Or
- 18/20 and 4 Toques | Gault&Millau
73 Boulevard de la Croisette
Images © J. Kelagopian