As a young star on the culinary scene in the Côte d’Azur, Sébastien Broda received his first Michelin star in 2010 at the ripe old age of thirty, only one short year after taking over the kitchens at the famous Le Grand Hotel in Cannes’ seaside restaurant Park 45, where daily he hits the culinary ball out of the park. Chef Broda trained with the best of the best under southern France legends Roger Verge (The Almond Mougins) and Christian Willer (Palme d’Or). He has an outstanding reputation for sourcing fresh food from local suppliers, giving him an edge in the area. He has spent his entire cooking career in the region, making him a bit of a hero amongst the native clientele.
To begin the meal, an amuse-bouche of beef meatballs on skewers, a light tapioca dip atop tapioca chips and a “false” olive (olive flavored and shaped creation) was served with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne. Next came a finely executed grated white truffle chestnut soup with a textured topping of toasted buckwheat popcorn. Following the soup I tried the scallops from northern France from the Port en Bessin region. Nervous to try them in the tartare manner, I soon chastised myself for they were deliciously wrapped with a carrot and orange confit and goose-necked barnacles. A hint of wasabi with lemon was present and was complimented by sweetness from an apple jus and dotted with rice. Gorgeously plated, the vibrant colors of the ingredients tell the story of how fruits and vegetables are celebrated at Park 45. Seasoned perfectly, this was my favorite dish of the meal.
Continuing on with the fruits of the sea, red mullet was my choice of entrée. It was served with an artichoke confit, Parmesan crumble and a saffron broth. A trickle of balsamic vinegar gave the dish the bit of kick it needed to take it from a good option to a great one. Lastly, the decadent chocolate mirror with clementine sorbet floating on top was a true reflection of the cohesiveness of my meal. Light, bright and colorful like the food, the interior of Park 45 mirrors the cooking of Sébastien Broda. It reflects the exciting aura that comes off the colorfully plated foods and enhances the dining experience. Think “Mad Men meets Mary Tyler Moore” hip pad for the décor. A strong color palette of lime green and purple upholstered chairs sounds harsh, but somehow works in the large open space. On the forefront of the trend, exposing wine cellars to the public to add a bit of flash, Park 45’s glass refrigerator showcases 700 bottles of their finest collection.
Park 45 and Chef Broda have hit a home run in Cannes at Le Grand Hotel. Make sure you seek advance seating when visiting Cannes to ensure you do not miss one of the best games in town.