Loïc Villemin (TOYA): infinity and zero waste
Over the last decade, Toya's chef has deployed boundless creativity in his ecological, local family cooking style. His commitment to these values is demonstrated in how he has forbidden waste and plastic from his kitchen.
One star, four toques
Born in 1986, a native of Faulquemont and a graduate of the hotel school in Metz, Loïc Villemin began his career with Jean-Georges Klein (L'Arnsbourg), then went on to perfect his skills with Nicolas Le Bec in Lyon, Patrick Bertron (Relais Bernard Loiseau), Arnaud Lallement (l'Assiette Champenoise) and Laurent Peugeot (Le Charlemagne). In 2010, he returned home and launched his own restaurant, Toya, in the Faulquemont Pontpierre golf club. One year later, he received his first Michelin star, becoming, at the age of 25 the youngest starred chef in France. In 2017, he was awarded the Gault & Millau d'Or Grand-Est prize, with the celebrated guidebook awarding him four of their “toques” in November 2019.
“I am aiming for the second star, as this is the way to keep the first”
Creative and playful, but committed
Loïc Villemin's cuisine is inspired by the moment; according to what ingredients have just arrived, the seasons and his personal inspiration for the day. "I target all food lovers, whether they are attached to gastronomic traditions or are seeking daring combinations," he explains. This approach is what you would expect from a native of Lorraine. He has a preference for common-sense, local ingredients, and he is also passionate about produce from the sea and freshwater sources, which he associates with his region. "Our menus change every week," he notes. "This is because the lives of our suppliers, like that of the nature that supports us, is not linear. The weather varies every day. Vegetable gardens and producers all have their whims and vagaries".
Cotton, glass and beeswax
Toya opened its doors in June 2010. Inspired by the Japanese lake located in the heart of a national park listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the name also pays tribute to the restaurant that Michel Bras ran nearby. Loïc Villemin holds this chef in "boundless esteem" and considers him to be the father of what he calls “The Beautiful and New French Cuisine". Loïc was closely involved in the redesign of the restaurant in 2017, working with his architect brother to ensure his personality is reflected in the design. The new look features "clean and relaxing lines, natural materials and light as consistent as our cooking, but reflecting the rhythm of the seasons.” He eliminated plastic from the kitchen in 2019, in favor of glass jars, metal trays, cotton pastry bags, and beeswax film. He is also an advocate of zero waste. This approach has now earned his restaurant the Ecotable label.