Born in Puteaux and raised in the suburbs of Paris, Yannick Alléno’s life has always revolved around French cuisine. Much of his childhood was spent in the kitchens of his family’s bistros, and it wasn’t long before he was beckoned by the stoves. At the age of 15, he took his first official chef job working under Gabriel Biscay at Le Royal Monceau, and this marked the beginning of a truly incredible culinary career.
As a young cook, Alléno cut his teeth at some of France’s best restaurants. From Roland Durand to Martial Enguehard and Louis Grondard, his mentors were veritable masters of the culinary arts. But it was under Grondard that his prowess really came into form, where his maturity and determination emerged and his skills and knowledge flourished.
From here, things went full-throttle. He joined the ranks of the culinary elite with his appointment as Head Chef of the kitchens at Scribe, following which the venue was awarded a Michelin Star in 1999 and two in 2002. In 2003 he was hired by Le Meurice hotel, and again he was rapidly awarded two stars in the Michelin Guide – followed shortly by a third.
In 2008, the Yannick Alléno Group was born, and the already notable chef set to work on his own culinary projects. Four years later, these came into fruition, and Alléno took over the culinary management of the Pavillon Ledoyen on the Champs-Élysées, the most beautiful and enviable address in Paris. In a short space of time, his restaurant, Alléno Paris, transitioned from new kid on the block to one of the city’s most revered culinary destinations. After seven months, he received a coveted three stars from the Michelin Guide and a host of awards thereafter, including the title of 2015 Chef of the Year by the Andrew Harper and GaultMillau guides.
Yannick’s other restaurant endeavours at his Parisian gastronomic group, which include one- and two-starred Pavyllon and L’Abysse respectively, made Pavillon Ledoyen the first independent fine-dining destination globally to have three star-rated restaurants in the 2020 Michelin Guide. All three restaurants held onto their stars in the 2021 edition, too, despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic. This is a historic and impressive feat for the chef, who still remains humble amid this success.
“I am always very afraid of what people think about my food, which has made me try and be very creative with what I make. I work very hard to find something different to go beyond people’s expectations,” the chef explains.
Alléno’s partnership with Moët & Chandon is a testament to this drive to exceed expectations, creating food that bellows with creativity and flair. Together with Benoît Gouez, Moët & Chandon’s chef de cave (cellar master), Yannick brings a very special gastronomic offering to diners at Pavillon Ledoyen.
Hidden behind a metal trompe-l’oeil door in Alléno’s state-of-the-art Parisian kitchen is Inside, a one-of-a-kind chef’s-table experience rooted in his philosophy of creating daring, curious and technically flawless cuisine. Pairing this with Moët & Chandon’s exceptional wine savoir-faire, Yannick has created an unmatched ode to haute cuisine.
“Inside marks the culmination of a longstanding partnership with Moët & Chandon. It was a privilege to experiment with Benoît Gouez – his expertise, sensitivity and passion led me to audacious and generous creations. I imagined this gastronomy experience like a journey through a modern vision of French art de vivre and exquisite champagne savoir-faire,” says the chef.
Benoît Gouez has carefully curated a selection of Moët & Chandon’s most refined Grand Vintage Collection champagnes, ranging from 1990 to 2000, that are exclusively available at Inside. The distinctive personalities of these delectable wines – convivial, sophisticated and sometimes mysterious – act as Alléno’s muse, fuelling an unparalleled creative combustion of flavour at his gourmet hideaway.
Designed for fine-dining lovers and champagne connoisseurs, Inside can host up to six guests and presents two unique experiences – a gourmet aperitif and a gastronomy odyssey with no set menu – both built around discovery and freedom. Immersed in Alléno’s sophisticated yet imaginative culinary arena, guests first select their preferred Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection and then, according to the wines’ individual spirit, the chef’s team will create unprompted, innovative courses based on the inspiration of the moment.
One of the most memorable creations to have emerged from Inside was inspired by the maturity, harmony and robustness of the Grand Vintage Collection 1992. With the chef’s senses enlivened by this tour de force, a mouthwatering dish of crispy butternut-squash ravioli and frangipane drenched in citrus and bitter-almond butter was conceived. From the flavourful food to the exquisite champagne and the elegant décor, the immersion at Inside is absolute, evoking Moët & Chandon’s refined heritage and timeless savoir-faire.
Upstairs, in the same history-steeped building, Alléno continues his captivating culinary showcase at his highly acclaimed eponymous restaurant. Surrounded by nature and caressed by the sun’s rays that flood through its innumerable bay windows, the chef treats up to 45 guests to a perfectly orchestrated meal from Mondays to Fridays.
In both the grandiose and intimate rooms, where beautifully ornamented antique woodwork is juxtaposed against avant-garde Louis Cane chandeliers, the chef’s contemporary and unique cuisine finds its idyllic setting where it can be savoured in all its glory. Each detail, from the immaculate table linen to the sparkling Riedel crystal glassware, flawless Bernardaud porcelain and the specially engraved silverware, has been carefully thought out to further heighten the dining experience.
The menu, much like the setting, has been conscientiously devised. Research-based and served in an optimally planned sequence, the dishes are the epitome of the chef’s self-developed manifesto of contemporary cuisine. From poached duck foie gras in a seashell broth to veal sweetbread marinated overnight with baker’s yeast and figs with curry marmalade, the plates are artistic, delicate and faultless in technique.
Yannick explains the process behind his dish creation: “For me, to think that people wouldn’t have a good time or enjoy my restaurant makes me try really to find a new way of presenting or creating things. In terms of French cuisine, it’s very important to understand the importance of sauces. I have actually created a YouTube video demonstrating some classic sauce techniques because it really is an essential part of understanding the French cooking philosophy. It’s also an essential part and reflection of my own philosophy.”
With this, and the chef ’s proclamation that, “Sauce is a verb of French cuisine,” it’s no surprise that the sauce boat has pride of place on each table at Alléno Paris, eagerly waiting to add something special to every dish. His food, which respects the integrity of simple ingredients and honours their terroir, is morphed into its chef d’oeuvre form through the addition of the sauces, which, thanks to Yannick’s know-how, can be described as the consummate extractions of flavour.
Further south, Yannick Alléno presents an equally-as-epicurean affair. A jewel among the peaks, three-Michelin-starred restaurant Le 1947 at Cheval Blanc Courchevel shimmers with the same distinction as its Parisian counterparts. The interiors of this Alpine bolthole, which are the brainchild of interior architect Sybille de Margerie, are sleek and contemporary, echoing the bold spirit of the maison it calls home. A canvas imagined to ignite every sense, the restaurant’s open kitchen sits front and centre, inviting diners as the audience to a remarkable performance of the culinary arts.
“When we designed it, we wanted it to have a lot of energy and for it to be a special place. For me, it is a piece of art in itself. We want people to feel like they have really travelled somewhere else during the culinary experience. We try to bring guests something that is really out of this world,” says Alléno.
Of course, the extraordinary ambiance is matched with equally as enchanting cuisine, where the chef brings French finesse and playful innovation to the forefront. Using locally sourced produce, he creates taste adventure after taste adventure, piquing the interest of those with curious palates.
“At Le 1947 at the Cheval Blanc Courchevel, terroir is very important and naturally dictates a huge part about what we produce and cook with. Being at such altitudes and extremes in weather means that I just can’t create the same dishes in the mountains as I can do in Paris. So we try to work with the land as much as possible and adapt by techniques such as preservation in order to keep dishes interesting all year round.
“A lot of work goes into the menu, which includes six starters, four main dishes and five deserts, but even this changes slightly every year. There is also a tasting menu and a variety of amuse-bouchées to accompany the dining experience. Returning customers that come to eat at the restaurant will not find the same dishes as before,” explains Alléno.
Each dish that comes out of his kitchen, whether in Paris or Saint-Bon-Tarentaise, is created using the same core principles. Surprising and as superb in taste as in presentation, Yannick’s palate-lingering creations possess his distinctive, uncompromising interpretation of contemporary French gastronomy.
In 2013, he concentrated these values into a formal culinary philosophy titled ‘modern cuisine’. Now a global food movement, ‘modern cuisine’ describes the chef’s novel, visionary and singular cooking approach in which he strives to fuse perfect techniques found in emblematic French cuisine with a genuine creative ambition, all underpinned by research. Through study and experimentation, Yannick Alléno continues to work towards modernising the pillars of French cuisine in an aim to unveil its unadulterated core, while tipping his hat to the revolutionary work done by his predecessors in nouvelle cuisine. Much like his own gastronomic journey, this renaissance is one that is rich in flavour, emotion and heritage.
But it’s not only the culinary industry that has taken note of Alléno’s passion, excellence and commitment to elevating his country’s heritage to new heights. Luxury Swiss watch brand Hublot has recognised the chef’s revolutionary and visionary approach, which resonates wholly with their own philosophy. As he embodies the values so dear to Hublot, inviting Yannick into the Hublot Family as a Hublot Ambassador in 2018 was a natural decision and one that the chef himself cherishes for its aptness.
“I am truly honoured to have joined the Hublot Family and to represent the culinary arts within this pool of excellence. Our profession often relies on precision timing, and we share with watchmaking the fundamental values of tradition and innovation,” concludes Alléno.