To the backdrop of a stunning 13th-century château, chef Julien Poisot serves local and seasonal dishes that showcase the Southern French region in all its glory. Dishes such as Quercy lamb, conchiglioni with mushrooms, black Lalbenque truffles and verbena jus, alongside the signature dish of poached pear in Malbec, vanilla cheesecake and beetroot espuma have become staples of Le Duèze under Poisot’s helm, spotlighting the chef’s culinary approach: creating beautiful cuisine worthy of appearing alongside such a remarkable venue.
Before coming to be the Executive Chef of Le Duèze at Château de Mercuès in April 2014, Julien worked under the legendary Loiseau brand for six years as head chef at the Tante Louise in Paris and three years as sous-chef at the 3-Michelin-star Relais Bernard Loiseau. His time at Bernard Loiseau provided inspirational grounding for the chef with notable distinctions including a second placing at the Toques d’Or Internationales in 2006 and the prize of Chef Espoir (best Young Chef) from Chef Magazine in 2010.
At Le Duèze, Poisot’s culinary success continues with the recognition from the Michelin Guide, which acknowledges his gastronomic skill and talent. Characterized by his passion for ‘terroir’ and local ingredients, including the estate’s own grown saffron and black Lalbenque truffles, Julien’s cuisine promotes the estate’s own agrarian philosophy and its approach to inventive and contemporary cuisine.
Château de Mercuès, which has been a member of Relais & Chateaux since 1959, is situated a short distance from the historic riverside city of Cahors, in Lot, South West France. This magnificent 13th-century castle, built high on a rocky promontory, was the summer residence of Counts and Bishops of Cahors for 700-years before being transformed in 1983 by the late winegrower Georges Vigouroux into a prestigious wine estate with wines such as the 2011 Chateau de Mercues 6666 being rated 90/100 by Robert Parker. Now owned and operated under his son, Bertrand-Gabriel Vigouroux, this 30-room luxury hotel boasts 40-hectares of Malbec vines, an underground winery and an aging cellar underneath the castle terrace. All wines are served alongside Chef Poisot’s sumptuous cuisine.
Describe your culinary philosophy:
Passion, terroir, mastery and tradition with a touch of modernity.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Ingredients! When I’m not in the kitchen you’ll normally find me scouting out fresh ingredients at local farms. From fruit and veg to meat and fish, and spices and condiments, I have great respect for these products, and I think it’s really important to understand how producers, breeders and fisherman breed and grow them.
Desire is also incredibly important for me as a chef. I often put myself in the shoes of my clients, if I were visiting a restaurant today what exciting flavors and colorful ingredients would I want to see on my plate. My desire to make people happy spurs me on to create fantastic food.
If you could take a plane ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
There are so many fantastic restaurants to discover around the world, so this is a difficult question, but Alinéa really stands out as a must-visit. Three Michelin star Chef Grant Achatz has created a truly inspiring culinary experience at his Chicago restaurant Alinéa, with his clever and refined staging of dishes. One day I really hope to dine here.
What FOUR things would you take to a desert island?
- My family
- A bottle of Caol Ila
- A bottle of Burgundy
- Some nice thick beef ribs
- 1 Michelin Star at Le Duèze | The Michelin Guide 2017-2019
- Winner of Chef Espoir (best Young Chef) | Chef Magazine 2010
Château de Mercuès
Route du Château