Piganiol will oversee operations at the French restaurant Le Beaulieu, Vietnamese restaurant Spices Garden, and Italian restaurant Angelina, as well as the culinary offerings at the hotel’s three bars, Le Club, La Terrasse, and the new Bamboo Bar.
Piganiol, who has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants Bernard Loiseau and Pierre Gagnaire, has spent the last five years at The Dharmawangsa in Jakarta. Piganiol made the move to Hanoi because it is close to his heart — he is the grandson of a colonial French family that lived in Vietnam during the 1940s — and he admires the hotel’s history. The historic 364-room hotel has hosted such notable guests as Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maugham, and Graham Greene, each of whom have suites named for them at the property.
Piganiol plans to make the Metropole Hotel a top culinary destination in Asia. His plans for Le Beaulieu include serving traditional French brasserie food using imported products like foie gras, turbot fish, game, and farm cheeses. The dishes will be served in cast-iron pots, on carving boards, and presented on trolleys to enhance the dining experience.
"The architecture of the building decides what you do in the kitchen because, in many ways, the architecture of the building decides what kind of guest checks in," said Piganiol. "The splendor of the hotel must be evident in the splendor of the dish."
His plan for Spices Garden includes introducing diners to unique products, such as black Sapa pork, blue water prawns, and herbs and spices from Vietnam’s northern mountains. Family-style dishes are prepared using traditional methods, such as cooking signature dishes in clay and bamboo pots. Piganiol also wants to cook some dishes in front of diners to enhance interaction.
Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.