Guy Savoy, a passion for cuisine still intact

Guy Savoy – whose restaurant, the best in the world for six years according to La Liste, has just lost his third Michelin star – gave us an exclusive interview. Although disappointed by this decision, the famous chef remains optimistic and passionate about his profession. He gives us his impressions on the evolution of the red guide, French gastronomy, and the role of the customer as the ultimate judge. Discover the secrets of his gourmet cuisine and the influences that inspire him every day, as well as his favorite addresses in Paris.

Restaurant Guy Savoy

Monnaie de Paris. 11, quai de Conti, 75006 Paris
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Le Chiberta

3, rue Arsène Houssaye, 75008 Paris
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L’Atelier Maître Albert

1, rue Maître Albert, 75005 Paris
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Le Petit Rétro

5, rue Mesnil, 75016 Paris
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What about the loss of a third star?

Guy Savoy: We really don’t expect that. Yet I know everything that happens in my house: I am there every morning at 8:30 sharp. In 2022, we had the best turnover in all years and there has not been a single negative comment about the restaurant in the last two years. Apparently, only Michelin detectives don’t like my house. And then there’s The List, which voted me best restaurant in the world six years in a row. The List is an aggregate of 970 sources which, taken separately, are indeed subjective. But once synthesized, they become objective and are necessarily binding.

Since his marriage to Le Fooding, is the Michelin having a youth crisis?

Guy Savoy: I don’t want to go into the analysis of the decline of Michelin, it’s not my job. However, a very great columnist wrote to me to say that “It’s a decision of panic”, before offering to advise me to get my third star back. I said, “I’m not the one to advise. It’s the Michelin guide!” And then, frankly, jeunisme. I pretend not to have the age of my marital status. I know 30-year-olds who have old attitudes. The commitment and work that my teams and I put into my restaurant has not diminished. There is only one thing that is likely to go down, and that is Michelin sales.

What’s your very first sweet memory?

Guy Savoy: It’s my mother’s kitchen. And especially her cat tongues. We didn’t go to school on Thursdays. My mother said, “We’re going to make cat tongues.” She started with salt, which surprised me. Then, sugar, flour, butter. She poured the mixture into small puddles on a lightly buttered baking sheet. The socks eventually flattened and cooked in a few minutes. The smell was crazy. With a spatula, she took the cat’s tongues off, then put them on the table. It got crispy. I saw it as magic. The art of cooking is to instantly transform a product into joy.

What are your favorite addresses in Paris, when you’re not cooking?

Guy Savoy: I live not far from the restaurant. So I often dine in the neighborhood. For fish and seafood, there is Le 21, rue Mazarine. For a bistro atmosphere, I go to Chez Fernand, rue Christine.

Speaking of bistros, you were among the first to open “chef’s bistros”…

Guy Savoy: Yes, that’s what got me into Larousse in 1997. My first bistro was for fun. Some people did it to make their gastronomic table profitable, not me. The real pioneer was Claude Terrail, the owner of the Silver Tower. I started slightly later, at the same time as Michel Rostang.

We always want to put a label on a chef’s kitchen. How would you define yours?

Guy Savoy: My cuisine is gourmet, period. I have absolutely nothing to do with being fashionable: I only care about gluttony and bonhomie, which are the two main ingredients and inseparable from my cuisine.

You are a great lover of art. Does it have an influence, when you create a dish?

Guy Savoy: What influences me above all is the chance to live in Paris, which is also, in a beautiful area, what gives me beauty and makes me look beautiful. Then there is life in its curiosity, in its vitality. To love listening, to exchange, to watch. To love cinema. To love living, that’s all.

What’s your signature dish?

Guy Savoy: I’d say it’s the pan of mussels and moussrons. Even if this pan is not on the menu all year round, it remains the most representative dish of my cuisine. Two ingredients that connect the land and the sea.

Given your career, you are seen more as a mentor. But which were yours?

Guy Savoy: My mother. Then the big three brothers, Frédy Girardet…well, all the people I worked with. When I get to a place it’s to please me. I never put myself in the situation of the head cutter and I like that we have it for all styles, we need all these styles. A good restaurant has to be gourmet. But gastronomy can be found everywhere: in a bistro, at a deli, a baker, a pastry chef… Of all the dishes I’ve tasted, the ones that have left me the greatest memory are my mother’s pies and gratins.

What if you were a season?

Guy Savoy: It would be autumn. After the fresh, light summer salads, it’s the time of year when you get hungry again. Finally, life is well done: autumn is the profusion of products at the same time as the return to more consistent food cravings.

What advice would you give to a young person who wants to become a chef?

Guy Savoy: Do the cooking you want to eat and don’t spare your efforts, because it doesn’t happen alone. You have to pay attention to the scripting of shows like Top Chef or Masterchef. Because there is a needy side that is not shown. It takes rigour to do two shifts a day. You have to work hard.

By Manuel Mariani - Published the

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