Gone are the days of "Mothers" (Brazier, Léa…). Today, the MICHELIN Guide is talking about chefs and the 2023 Selection highlights the female-led power in the kitchen. Several trends emerged at these amazing women's tables—professional retraining, sometimes self-taught paths (including rich, personal stories) and long journeys, all of which result in diversity of tones and styles.
Converted to gastronomy
On the retraining side, the chef of One Star and Green Star de:ja restaurant (distinction earned in 2023), Jeanne Satori, has studied ecology. Unsurprisingly, her cuisine is based on an exemplary treatment of products, animals, and the people behind them. The chef of Dante (Paris), Rebecca Beaufour, succumbed to her passion for gastronomy during an internship with Alain Passard during his economics course. An urban planner in degree, chef Clara Reydet switched paths a few years ago, however she opened Monique, her first restaurant as owner only last year: you can taste the cuisine is dear to her heart and geared towards the natural (almost going directly against her studies of concrete and architecture).
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The global journey
In Bordeaux, Oxana Cretu, the Moldavian chef from Cromagnon, trained in design before arriving as an au pair in France. Self-taught, Cretu took classes at the École Ducasse before charting her culinary journey with delicate Japanese influences. Chef Carla Kirsch Lopez (of Alebrije restaurant in Lyon) hails from Vera Cruz, Mexico, and makes it her mission to introduce diners to the 1,001 flavors of her rich and tasty native country. Camila Seixas (of Orizhon) comes from Brazil but has found roots facing the sea in the port of Audierne. Known for her appearances on television, chef Georgiana Viou’s story is multi-layered, much like her cooking. From Cotonou to Berlin via Marseille, Viou’s travels bring oodles of flavor and equal parts flair to One Star Rouge in Nîmes bridging Mediterranean influnceese with here Beninese roots. Originally from San Francisco, chef Cybèle Idelot relocated to Gambais (near Rambouillet) and continues to harness the ethos of California living at Green Star Ruche. Dishes come entirely (or almost entirely) from the vegetable garden of the estate highlighting the purest form of farm-to-table dining. Nearby, One Star Chiquito benefits from chef Anne-Sophie Godry who worked alongside the previous chef for years and continues to preserve the excellence and innovation that are the restaurant’s hallmarks.
The female capital of gastronomy?
For many chefs, the quaint, coastal area of Nantes has become the modern breeding ground for (female) ingenues. Chalk it up to the region’s natural resources and riches—think lush vineyards and bountiful agricultural close to the Atlantic Ocean—yielding visionary chefs with just as prescient (and ultra-local) dishes. Former Top Chef France contestant Lucie Berthier Gambara oversees Sepia; Céline Mingham works her magic at Bib Gourmand l'Ourse; and Charlotte Gondor brings vibrancy to bistro cuisine at Maison Bagarre. As for Nawal Rezagui, she’s using the sea as her inspiration and setting—just check out her plates with a view at Vent Debout at the Hôtel Les Hautes Mers.