Eric Pras: Praise for the Transmission
For decades, the Maison Lameloise took advantage of its strategic position on the edge of the National A6 highway. Today, gastronomes going to Chagny, in Burgundy have the added advantage that this 3-star restaurant, steeped in history, is directed by Chef Eric Pras, "Meilleur Ouvrier de France."
Respect: This is the first word that comes to Eric Pras' mind when we talk to him about Jacques Lameloise. As a reminder, Jacques' grandfather won two Michelin Stars in the 1930s, and was himself was the youngest chef to win three stars in 1979 at the age of thirty-one. After losing a star in 2005, he managed to get it back in 2007: A rare feat in the profession. Eric Pras, for his part, studied with Pierre Gagnaire, Bernard Loiseau, and Regis Marcon. He joined Jacques in 2008. "We exchanged ideas like a father with his son," he recalls. After nine months of collaboration, he took over the restaurant, alongside Frédéric Lamy, a nephew by marriage of the Lameloise family, who graduated from the Lausanne school and has a long experience in the restaurant and hotel business. "We make all the decisions together, but I can concentrate on the kitchen," says Chef Pras.
"As soon as we are satisfied, we start to make mistakes"
From one chef to another
In his latest book, "La Transmission au Coeur ma Cuisine," Eric Pras shares recipes, but also a real culture. In his eyes, transmitting values, know-how, and respect for hierarchy is one of the main missions of chefs. "After three years, it often becomes necessary for future chefs to look elsewhere. We give them as many skills as possible, but they need to multiply their experiences, as I did. As "Meilleur Ouvrier de France," he insists on the need to transmit rigor and the desire to always improve. "As soon as we are satisfied, we start making mistakes." New dishes are tested regularly because Chef Pras does not like to repeat his creations endlessly. "We put the pressure on ourselves! And if I fall asleep, the whole brigade falls asleep with me.” At the age of fifty, the Chef believes he still has fifteen years to pass on his experience to young enthusiasts aged between the ages of 19 and 31. "It's not easy every day, but they will all realize that they were lucky to find their way here! I think that's the most precious thing: You can buy flat screens, watches, or shoes, but everyone knows that doesn't make you happy.”
From one kitchen to another
A native of the region, Eric Pras rigorously applies one of Jacques Lameloise's suggestions: "Always be careful, we are in Burgundy. Don't forget that people also come for the wines and so make sure your cuisine is not too spicy.” His style is based on classical foundations with modern touches. The author of this review particularly appreciated, for example, the crab & red mullet, mushroom ravioli, and creamy foie gras with acidic oyster mushrooms. Or the poached pollack in jelly, artichoke, citron, onion broth, and Morvan cazette. A cuisine in constant evolution. Bocuse advises chefs to get out of their kitchens: Eric Pras did so by opening a restaurant in Shanghai in 2018, already haloed by a Michelin Star, and recently opened two restaurants in Dijon, the city of gastronomy. But as the chef says, "It's nice to get out of the kitchen, but I get back in very quickly. Our job is fragile: You have to be at the top of your game every day, at every service."