According to the Michelin Guide, a restaurant with two of its world-famous stars is ‘worth a detour’.
I’d say two-star Le Chabichou by Stephane Buron at the luxurious five-star Chabichou Hotel & Spa in France’s Courchevel 1850 ski resort bends the definition – or the inspectors keep forgetting to hit the star button three times when they file their conclusion. It’s worth crossing countries for.
The moment my partner and I finish our nine-course meal there I’m moved to declare that it might just be the best I’ve ever enjoyed, potentially eclipsing a three-star meal I had in the same ski resort earlier in the year.
Afterwards we have the honour of meeting Chef Buron and I can’t help but make bowing-down motions towards this culinary deity, who began working in the kitchen here in 1987 under then-head-chef Michel Rochedy, three years after the restaurant won its second star. The first had been awarded in 1979.
Buron, who became head chef in 2018, knows the recipe for successfully standing the test of time, no doubt.
Ted Thornhill checks into the luxurious five-star Chabichou Hotel & Spa in France ‘s Courchevel 1850 ski resort
Our experience had begun four hours earlier in the evening (you need to clear your diary for a meal here), the waiting staff inviting us to choose any table set for two as we gaze around at the invitingly elegant décor in the restaurant – think beautiful pale woods and chic chairs.
We take a corner table next to a huge black-and-white photograph of legendary French chef Paul Bocuse, signed by chefs that have eaten at Chabichou over the years.
We had been the first to arrive, but we’re soon joined by a chatty party of eight and a charming sommelier pushing a wooden trolley displaying the ingredients for a delicious, ceremoniously presented kir-royale-style aperitif made from Bollinger Champagne and sapinette, a liqueur made from fir needles.
Ted and his partner dine at two-star Le Chabichou by Stephane Buron. Here their kir-royale-style aperitif made from Bollinger Champagne and sapinette is being prepared
Ted declares that the food at Le Chabichou ‘doubles as art’. On the left – ‘3D-printed’ amuse bouche resembling ornate leaves. On the right – wild mushroom tartelette and mushroom cappuccino
Next we’re asked if we would like the five (220 euros/£195/$245), seven (310 euros/£275/$345) or nine-course tasting menu.
We opt for the nine courses (400 euros/£355/$450) – an eye-popping, Instagram-baiting tour de force of culinary wizardry that consistently astounds. The dishes are served in delightfully imaginative ways, accompanied by top-level wine, and all presented by highly knowledgeable staff who exude warmth and humour.
It’s food that doubles as art, with the first exhibit amuse bouche resembling ornate leaves, made from vegetables including potatoes, carrots and celery that have been blended with eggs and flour and ‘3D-printed’ using stencils.
And so is the wild mushroom tartelette and mushroom cappuccino. This double act takes over 12 hours to make and is served in a wonderfully whimsical fashion on a wooden plate decorated with a mushroom statue that doubles as a carrying handle.
Ted writes: ‘We opt for the nine courses (400 euros/£355/$450) – an eye-popping, Instagram-baiting tour de force of culinary wizardry that consistently astounds.’ On the right is a ‘treasure chest’ of sorbets housed within frosted citrus fruits
Ted reveals that the nine-course tasting menu is a four-hour affair
‘This restaurant is worth not just a detour, but a spot of globe-trotting,’ trumpets Ted
‘The Foie Gras’, meanwhile, is a stunning ‘nest’ of delicate spheres and cones made from foie gras, apple, eel and aged apple vinegar, with the plate dotted with apple gel and parsley coulis and garnished with an eye-catching tuile leaf.
We are also treated to delicious scallops seared in mushroom butter and a treasure chest of sorbets housed within frosted citrus fruits.
The wines include a heavenly Burgundian Chablis by Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin and a lip-smackingly gorgeous Burgundian Vosne-Romanee red by Domaine Meo-Camuzet.
Pictured here is the father-son team of Stephane and Antonin
Antonin reveals that one day they’d love to add another star to the Chabichou Michelin ranking
Afterwards, so full we’re in a daze, we meet not only Chef Buron but his son, Antonin, too – who’s the sous-chef in the brigade. He tells me that one day they’d love to add another star to their Michelin ranking.
With such rare talent working in this kitchen, they must surely be in with a great chance (I’m moved to suggest it’s a Chabichou-in).
But two stars or three, this restaurant is worth not just a detour, but a spot of globe-trotting.