What do you need to be able to offer one of the finest restaurants in the world? An amazing sixteenth century residence in the heart of Provence with views of the Alpilles and an organic garden certainly helps. If that is not enough one of the best French wine cellars in the world with 60,000 bottles will help and if more than that is needed will some of the finest ingredients together with a master chef as the owner and a top chef as the Head Chef be enough, for one of the best restaurants in the world. Oh, did we forget to mention that the food is amazing?
Raymond Thuilier was a director of a large insurance company when he took the risk of founding a gourmet restaurant at the foot of Les-Baux-de-Provence by the late 1940’s. That proved out to be a wise move since he soon earned success that made him famous and attracted the most prominent guests from all over the world to his property.
At the age of 72 did Raymond Thuilier ask his 24 years old grandson, Jean-André Charial, if he could come and work with him and they worked together all the way until the grandfather’s death in 1993 at age 96. Some dishes from Raymond Thuilier’s cooking are still on the menu, like the veal sweetbreads in puff pastry and a selection of cheeses and assorted breads. It is a good example of the richer, creamier style of cooking compared to Jean-André Charial’s style that is much more subtle and pure, with simplicity and fewer ingredients, like the leek and foie gras ravioli with black truffles.
In recent years Jean-André Charial is not the grand chef anymore, but he is still today busy as the president of the property and he continues to spend time in the kitchen with his new Head Chef Sylvestre Wahid who brings on another style to the fantastic cuisine of Oustau de Baumanière, like Mediterranean red mullet, tomatoes with basil and thyme flowers in a warm vinaigrette seasoned with bitter herbs. In addition the team of Oustau de Baumanière has been strengthened by Sylvestre Wahid’s younger brother Jonathan Wahid as the talented Pastry Chef. The final result of today’s menu is a fantastic combination of three generations of chefs that is a must to experience for all food lovers.
Head Chef Sylvestre Wahid’s relaxed and almost laid-back attitude and expression is quite rare among the world’s multi starred chefs, but his ability to reinvent a legendary cuisine from former days combined with his new for tomorrow works exemplarily.
Jean-André Charial is probably a very happy man with all the accomplishments he has achieved over the years and with his new brilliant team of the Wahid brothers, because he has one of the best restaurants and finest properties in the world.
Written by Andy