In 1992, Laurent Petit opened the Clos des Sens in the heart of Annecy-le-Vieux. Since its "Cooking out", its lacustrine and vegetable cuisine has enhanced strictly local products, a symbol of a human exchange between producers and cook. In honor of this rebirth, Chef Petit received his third Michelin Star in 2019.
What adventures have brought you to your Cooking out?
My mid-life crisis and the awareness of reaching the last professional decade to express myself. A desire to be a man beyond a cook and to push my message, through the prism of gastronomy, in all its transparency. A nakedness of sorts. It is an inner struggle that becomes external and expressed. The desire to free myself from any comparison, and from the beaten, unsustainable, gastronomic paths, led me to my cooking out. Since then, I have been cooking strictly locally and have reduced the use of animal proteins to a strict minimum. I want to use my third star to influence young restaurateurs to implement the rules of farmers’ common sense, far from globalized consumption.
"I don't want to miss out on the human wealth that inhabits my collaborators and producers.“
How do you see your relationship with your collaborators and producers?
I don't want to miss the human wealth that inhabits them. It is now increasingly easy to be around people without interacting intellectually and emotionally. I want to understand who they are humanly and bring depth to our relationship. This contact seems obvious, but is not at all so. My producers make their profession a way of life. It is necessary to underline the "simplexity" of their work, the richness of their activity in a society defined by overconsumption. Then I take pleasure in showing them how I can express the quintessence of their product in the kitchen. I grew up in the Langres region and, in my twenties, I tasted our local cheese in a gourmet restaurant in Paris. The refining process had completely elevated this product. On my return, I passed on my experience to the producer in order to make him understand the potential of his cheese through maturing.
How would you describe the pillars that support your restaurant?
Le Clos des Sens remains a couple story. Martine and I opened it in 1992 and worked in tandem on the life of the restaurant and the hotel. You also have to find your professional alter ego and I had the chance to meet Franck Derouet, my executive chef, eight years ago. Secondly, the room, a crucial space and the heart of the restaurant. In order to establish cohesion between all departments, new employees always start in the kitchen. It is by discovering the essence of the dish that they develop the desire to transmit this culinary passion to their guests. Thereafter, they must be intelligent enough to express the subtlety of all dishes in their own words, in all honesty.
Laurent Petit (Le Clos des Sens): Praising Common Sense