Travel 1 minute 22 February 2024

Boris Campanella and Matthieu Carlin, a Perfect Pairing

At L’Écrin, this Chef/Pastry Chef duo work together like a well-oiled machine. Here, they tell The MICHELIN Guide the secrets of their success.

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L’Écrin is the jewel in the Hôtel de Crillon’s crown, an exclusive restaurant with just nine tables that promises a unique gourmet experience in a refined setting. Taking as a starting point the wines selected by Head Sommelier Xavier Thuizat, Executive Chef Boris Campanella and Head Pastry Chef Matthieu Carlin then, in tandem, compose and improvise a single set menu. Their bond is what makes a meal at this restaurant such a unique experience. Together, they serve up tailor-made cuisine to match the initial wine choices of their Sommelier.

Boris Campanella_@Lauren Luxenberg
Boris Campanella_@Lauren Luxenberg

How did you meet?
Boris Campanella: We met 18 years ago in the kitchens of Château de Candie, in Annecy, and never lost touch. Beyond a purely professional partnership, we have a real friendship.

How did you end up working together at Hôtel de Crillon?
Matthieu Carlin: When Boris called to ask me to join him, I had just come from a Three MICHELIN Star restaurant, but I didn’t hesitate. I did the recruitment tests with the management of Le Crillon.

BC: My aim is to build a team and surround myself with people I know. There are 80 of us in the kitchen, and Matthieu works with 30 pastry chefs, for all the hotel’s catering departments, of course. Things have to keep moving.

Matthieu Carlin_@Lauren Luxenberg
Matthieu Carlin_@Lauren Luxenberg

How do you work together?
MC: We work together and taste everything together. Sweet is the logical sequel to savoury; it’s the final step in the sequence. There should be no break in flow between the two. There needs to be a common thread, and we define this together.

BC: It’s rare to work in such harmony. We talk, we exchange ideas, we devise the menus together, we might swap ingredients –  for instance, if one of us is using figs, the other chooses another fruit, and vice versa, to avoid any repetition.

Do you swap techniques?
MC: The techniques in cooking and pastry-making are different, but in our opinion what counts is the end result more than technique – emotion takes precedence. Boris and I agree that it is not about showing off our technical skill; it’s not a competition.


Do you work together on devising what you will serve?
BC: We do of course take each other’s wishes into account and are in constant dialogue. We make sure we don’t restrict each other’s creativity. Here at L’Écrin, what we offer is made-to-measure dining. The customer chooses their wine or soft drink with the Head Sommelier, Xavier Thuizat, and then we think on our feet to create dishes to match à la minute.

MC: If I don’t understand the chef’s cooking, I can’t complement it by creating a dessert for the end of the meal. The problem with multi-course menus is that people are often no longer hungry for dessert. We’ve reduced the portions to ensure a pleasant dining experience, and I’ve cut right back on the sugar content of the desserts to move in that direction.

BC: In many kitchens, the chefs don’t get on – but our collaboration is our strength. We form a trio with Sommelier Xavier Thuizat, working together to explore a given ingredient, then sharing the results in order to offer a unique experience at L’Écrin. Few restaurants take the concept so far.


Hero Image:  L'Écrin_@ LaurenLuxenberg


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