Interview of Julien Martineau, our new Chef
Where did your passion for cooking come from?
My grandparents worked on farms and my two grandmothers have always cooked a lot with farm products. My passion for the product and cooking was born.
Tell us in a few words about your career path?
I started in Vendée (France) in a traditional restaurant where I did my first apprenticeship and then in a more gourmet restaurant for my Professional Certificate. After graduation, I went to Paris to a two-star gourmet restaurant at Lasserre for 2 years. Then, I went to Zurich for 2 years and then to the Lausanne Palace at La Table d’Edgard et Côté Jardin. After 9 years at the Palace, I went to work in a Small Luxury Hotel in England for a year and a half. Then, the Château de Bonmont contacted me and I took this new opportunity.
What seduced you in Bonmont?
The magical setting of the estate, the atmosphere, the soul of the house. We are surrounded by nature in a building steeped in history. Then I also came because the gastronomic challenge was very interesting.
How would you define your cooking?
It is an easy to understand, Mediterranean-style cuisine with simple and well-chosen products. We are fortunate to have suppliers who deliver to us from Monday to Saturday so we always cook fresh products. From fish soup to fruit pie, everything is homemade. I learned to master my cooking at the Palace in Lausanne where most of the products were from the south of France. It is this cuisine that I prefer to do and that I breathe into Bonmont. To satisfy every desire, we offer several menus. We have a “snack” menu available at any time. In the evening, we offer a more elaborate cuisine to local customers who want to enjoy a good meal in a superb setting.
Where do you find inspiration in the design of your dishes?
It’s very spontaneous, depending on the mood of the day. We work with the supplier’s freshest products. We do not offer a weekly menu in advance to keep this spontaneity. We compose our dishes according to the seasons, the weather and the products offered by our suppliers. The decoration of the dishes is done with experience. We have fun according to the shapes and colours of the plates. We also play with what our gardener brings us (rosemary, zucchini flowers…). Creating on a day-to-day basis requires a lot of creativity and adaptation from me and my teams.
What are the ingredients you prefer to work with?
The fish. As a fish lover since I was a child and having lived by the sea, fish is the food I prefer to cook and enjoy.
What is the recipe you are most proud of?
Smoked squid & biscayenne. Squid is a product adored by our Golf members. We have therefore decided to offer it in several dishes for each season. Last time we served it with a delicious caponata. We signed it “Number 7”, like the authentic hole of the Golf de Bonmont.
What are the qualities to excel in the position of “Chef “?
What makes the difference is sensitivity, listening to the customer and organization. Our cooking studies teach us to organize and execute well. However, sensitivity is not innate. This sensitivity makes all the difference in the design of a dish. Sensitivity means wanting to bring the little something extra, choosing the right products, finishing the plate with a little flower of salt.
Do you follow the culinary trends?
I am aware of the trends but I do not necessarily follow them. I have all my good knowledge of traditional cuisine. I like to work things out well and simply. What our customers are looking for is the traditional side, so they can recognize themselves and eat healthy.
How do you adapt to diets?
We have dishes that can be easily adapted to everyone’s needs. We work everything with olive oil with a lactose-free and gluten-free cuisine for most dishes. Then, as everything is homemade, the customers know the composition of the dishes so everything is under control.
If you had to tell us about a strong memory of your career?
The reopening of La Table d’Edgard after the renovation work. It was a very euphoric moment between the customers and the staff in the kitchen. The kitchen had been opened to the restaurant, we served the guests and I explained the dishes. I remember an incredible moment with a great atmosphere. In this business, having good contact with customers, having their feedback on my dishes is essential. This rewards all our efforts and allows us to improve and adjust according to feedback. Our customers in Bonmont are regular, demanding and educated gastronomically. I am therefore happy to find this family and friendly spirit again.