Laurent Loudeacwas born in Chateaubriant, department of Loire-Atlantique (Loire Valley) in the Northwest. He completedhis apprenticeship in athree-star hotel restaurant called La Ferriere, located in a small manor. After that,Laurent went to work in Switzerland forthree years, Australia for an OE, and then to London for a year at the Hilton hotel, Kensington.

Laurent moved to New Zealand in 1995 and spent the first year in Pauanui at the Puka Park lodge, where, along with the head chef, he entered Restaurant of the Year at the Auckland Culinary Fare and came in second with a silver medal.

After Pauanui he moved down to Wellington and started workingas sous-chef at the fine dining Kimble Bent restaurant at the Park Royal (now Intercontinental), where in 1997 they won the Corban’s Food and Wine Challenge for Best Hotel Restaurant.

After a three-year stint at the hotel, Laurent decided to move to Sydney fortwo years where he worked as sous-chef at the famous Level 41, with head chef Dietmar Sawyer – he then took a position as head chef at Orso Bayside restaurant in Mosman on the North Shore. He was there for a year then moved back to the south-west of France in 2001,to a place called Figeac, where he worked as head chef for two years in two different restaurants enjoying the abundance of foie gras and duck confit and the southern hospitality. He even bought an old stone house from the 18th century and restored it.

Then it was time to come back to New Zealand and Laurent landed in Wellington where hewas head chef at Hummingbird forfour years. Since then Laurent has won numerous awards. He came third in the Restaurant of the Year at the Auckland culinary fare in 2005, and first prize withhis dessert in the Decadence Week and won the WOW edible art award in 2005.

Presently Laurent is expressing his flare for excellence and taste as Executive Head Chef at the Museum Hotel in Wellington. In 2015, Laurent has won the World title for the Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge.Being in the industry for more than 30 years now, he loves the way it is going forward, and that there is always room for improvement. He enjoys working in a kitchen for its challenges, self-satisfaction and of course for making people happy and having a great time.

 

FOUR Questions with Laurent

Describe your culinary philosophy in 4 words.

Fresh, balanced, simplicity and good combinations of flavours.

 

What is your greatest inspiration?

The ingredients I work with.

 

If you could take a plane ride to any restaurantin the world, just for one meal, where would you go?

ElevenMadison Park,New York, or Thomas Keller’s, The French laundry in Napa Valley.

 

What three things would you take to a desert island?

Fishing rod, lighter anda barrel of Central Otago pinot noir

 

 

Hippopotamus Restaurant

Museum Hotel

Level 1

90 Cable Street

Wellington 6011

NZ

+64 4 802 8935

www.hippopotamus.co.nz