Michelin-Starred Chef Franck Reynaud Loves His Big Green Egg

The Swiss chef shares how he keeps his restaurant’s menu fresh, even in the middle of winter
Le Restaurant Gastronomique L’Ours
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Le Restaurant Gastronomique L’Ours

Considered to be one of the finest places to dine in the Crans-Montana region of Switzerland, the Michelin-starred Le Restaurant Gastronomique L’Ours within the Hostellerie du Pas de l’Ours has been led by chef Franck Reynaud since 1994. Astute, articulate, and always striving for perfection, Reynaud stays true to the restaurant’s region with his creative, locally sourced, and ever-changing menu. We met with Reynaud in his element to discuss his culinary journey.

The Daily Meal: Being raised in a culinary family, was there ever any time that you Father tried to steer you away from being in the restaurant industry, being that it is so difficult a profession?
Franck Reynaud:
I was born in the South of France as the third generation of culinary professionals. They did not say you need to work in the kitchen or the culinary profession. They gave us the education. Whether we choose the culinary or education, our profession was our choosing.  They showed us how to receive people.  When I am in the kitchen, I want to give pleasure to the people. My work is my passion. If I were a school teacher, I think it would be the same mentality.

Chef Franck Reynaud

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Chef Franck Reynaud

You try to source you ingredients from the area, correct?
Fifty percent of the menu features fresh ingredients. It is very difficult in the mountain region – especially in the winter season. I try to get the maximum of local products. We try to use lake fish. There are good vegetables four to five months maximum, and spices too – such as the saffron and aromatic herbs. For the meat, we have best beef.

The skiing season is coming. What do you do to creatively prepare your dishes during the winter season?
We often change the menu every day.  We use venison, lamb, and fish. It is a pleasure for me to change when I want. The people trust me after the 20 years since we opened.

What tool, with the exception of the knife, is your favorite kitchen utensil?
First, we need to cook. We work with the oven, a really great oven.  My new toy now comes from the United States called the Big Green Egg. It can both cook and smoke at the same time. People are really interested in barbecue right now.

What advice would you give to a young culinary student?
Don’t go! [Laughs]  You must like to give pleasure in the kitchen, and it will be impossible if you don’t. You need sensibility to work in service. It is hard work but good work. You need to find where you want work: In pastry, with bread, you need to understand how to give a story, how to be a leader, not a follower. In the kitchen, it has to be about the passion. I tell my son, to make his own way, not to follow.

Are there any trends that are no longer viable?
We need to be aware of the new things around, but I don’t want to be persuaded by that. I keep it artisanal and true to what I believe.

What do you see as the most important aspect of your profession?
Really, it is the ingredients. Have the best ingredients you can. If you make a sauce with bad wine, you have a bad sauce. When the plate arrives in front of a guest, it must be really superb.  It is really simple; it is about creating maximum taste and texture. I was very fortunate to go to many kitchens with my parents to learn from the best in the world.  It is about the kitchen, a certain kitchen in New York may not work here.  When you work all day, you go to a restaurant to have a good time.

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