Whisk Around the World: July/August

Julie Mautner / July 2013

France
Cédric Grolet, 27, is the new pastry chef at Le Meurice in Paris, a Dorchester Collection hotel. He joined the prestigious property on the Rue de Rivoli in early 2011 as assistant pastry chef under Camille Lesecq. He hails from Firminy in the Loire. Prior to joining Le Meurice, Grolet spent roughly seven years at Fauchon, where he worked with Christophe Adam and Benoit Couvrand, heading the R&D department and traveling the world to help open new Fauchon stores in Beijing, South Korea, Dubai, and Morocco. Lesecq, meanwhile, left to work with his mentor and former boss, Christophe Felder, in Alsace.

There’s a new chef and new restaurant director this season at the five-star Relais & Châteaux Hôtel Crillon le Brave, perched on a picturesque Provençale hilltop in the tiny village of Crillon le Brave. Chef Jérôme Blanchet came up from the famed Negresco in Nice, where he’s been #2 to exec chef Jean-Denis Rieubland. (Together the duo earned two Michelin stars at the Negresco’s restaurant Chantecler.) Blanchet replaced Philippe Zemour. And Jonathan Untersinger is Crillon le Brave’s new restaurant director; he was last the maître d’ and chef/sommelier at Alain Ducasse’s L’Abbaye de la Celle, in La Celle, about two hours to the south. Also new this season at Crillon le Brave is Bistrot 40K, which opened May 20. Five evenings a week, it offers a “rustic, simply cooked” menu with produce and wine sourced from within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the village; the set price is €40 ($52) per person. Meanwhile, down on the Côte d’Azur, Philippe Brun is now second in command in the Negresco kitchen. He was already part of the team and was promoted upon Blanchet’s departure.

Italy
Luigi Lionetti has been promoted to exec chef at Monzú restaurant at Punta Tragara on the Isle of Capri. Following four years as sous chef, Lionetti has taken over the kitchen of the signature restaurant in this historic hotel, specializing in seasonal dishes inspired by the traditional cuisine of Capri and Naples. He is also serving as the hotel’s exec chef. A native of Capri, the 29 year old Lionetti replaced Nando Arcucci. Punta Tragara is part of the Manfredi Fine Hotel Collection, owned by brothers Leonardo and Goffredo Ceglia Manfredi. Legendary architect Le Corbusier conceived this cliffside property, with 44 guest rooms and two restaurants. Sinatra, Eisenhower, and Churchill are just three of the hotel’s illustrious former guests.

Spain
Meliã Hotels & Resorts opened its first resort in the Andalusian province of Huelva, on Spain’s Atlantic coast in May. The Meliã Atlántico is a 358 room beach resort in Isla Canela, an upscale tourist destination and residential area. The exec chef is Juan Carlos Mairena, who was previously at Beach House Hotel (Mallorca). The gm is Francisco Porras, previously at Sol Gavilanes (Menorca). The Meliã Atlántico was built in 2000 in the traditional Andalusian style and fully redone in 2013. A buffet restaurant offers twice weekly theme dinners based on regional, global cuisines. The hotel also has three bars, including a snack bar for light and healthy dishes. Surrounding the property are protected nature reserves, hiking trails, and picturesque villages. Meliã Hotels International currently operates more than 350 hotels and 90,000 rooms in 35 countries under its seven brands.

Istanbul
The Shangri-La Bosphorus opened May 11. The opulent 186 room hotel marks the second in Europe for the Hong Kong–based hotelier; a property in Paris opened in 2010. Set on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait, the hotel is a redo of a 1930s tobacco warehouse, and it overlooks the city’s domes, minarets, and hills of the city’s Asian shores. In the lobby, guests enjoy pastries and a selection of 100 types of tea. The all-day restaurant, Ist Too, serves Japanese, Southeast Asian, Mediterranean, and Turkish cuisines. It has a sushi bar, “wine salon,” noodle station, and an open kitchen with 39-foot grill. The signature restaurant is Shang Palace, serving high-end Chinese. The hotel exec chef is Fabrice Giraud, previously exec sous chef at the Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai. The f&b director is Sevtap Polat, last at The Ritz Carlton Dubai. The gm is Sinan Yylmaz, most recently the gm at the Edsa Shangri-La Manila. Rooms begin at $724.

United Kingdom
After launching a London pop-up called Foreword last November, chef Tom Sellers opened the 42 seat Restaurant Story on Tooley Street in the London area of Bermondsey in April. After Sellers, now age 26, was expelled from school at 16, he then went on to build a CV many chefs would kill for, working for Tom Aikens in Chelsea/London, Thomas Keller in Napa Valley and NYC, and René Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen, among others. Championing British produce, the same six (£45/$69) or 10 course (£65/$100) menus are offered at lunch and dinner. Opening dishes include Sellers’ signature “bread and dripping”; burnt onion, apple, gin, and thyme; beef cheek, stout, and cauliflower yeast; lamb bread (lamb sweetbreads), sheep’s milk yogurt, wild garlic; and Three Bears’ Porridge. So why the name, Story? “We see food as our story books,” the chef says, “and want our guests to share this story, leaving their own stories with us along the way.”