The Loire Valley region of France is not only famous for being home to France’s most iconic chateaux and world-renowned wine, but is also home to astounding French gastronomy, earning its nickname of “the Garden of France.” Below is a snapshot of some of the region’s top chefs of the moment.
The most famous chef in the Loire Valley, Chef Christophe Hay was named 2021 Chef of the Year by the Gault & Millau guide. He currently holds two Michelin stars for his restaurant La Maison d’à Côté and one green star for his commitment to sustainable gastronomy, striving to promote the local terroir and producers. Chef Hay created his own permaculture vegetable garden, collaborating with a local conservatory to revive old plant varieties such as purple celery from Tours. In his kitchen, plants are at the heart of the plate. In addition, the chef owns a farm of 60 Wagyu oxen near Angers, and sources caviar from Sologne, fish from the Loire, organic and natural wines from Cheverny and organic local goat cheese.
In June 2022, Chef Christophe Hay will move to a new home: Fleur de Loire in Blois, a new 5-star hotel and gourmet restaurant. The former property of the brother of King Louis XIII will house 44 rooms, including 11 suites, a bistro, pastry kiosk, swimming pool and state-of-the-art Sisley branded spa.
Catherine Delacoute from Le Lancelot
Located in the heart of the small village of Chilleurs-aux-Bois outside of Orléans, the bistro gastronome Le Lancelot takes inspiration from the Knights of the Round Table, with each room named after a character, including Lancelot, King Arthur and Guinevere. Le Lancelot is located just steps away from the historic Chateâu de Chamerolles, built in the 1500s on the site of an ancient medieval fortress under the authority of Lancelot du Lac. Even more, Chef Catherine Delacoute, owner and chef of the restaurant, is herself a knight. Chef Delacoute previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in Orléans, La Crémaillère and La Poutrière, before transforming an abandoned farmhouse that would later become the emblem of Le Lancelot. Her innovative approach to classic gastronomy and creation of such a unique and friendly atmosphere attract guests to experience her “gastronomic bistro.”
Julien Medard from l’Ardoise du Marché
Chef Julien Medard is at the helm of the Michelin-Starred l’Ardoise du Marché located just outside the town of Sancerre, which was voted France’s favorite village in 2021. In just a few years, Chef Medard has become known for creating innovative, consistent and sustainable cuisine, showcasing local natural ingredients in his dishes. His cuisine boasts powerful flavors, high-quality products and a strong contrast of textures and flavors. Largely inspired by his travels in Japan as well as local cuisine, L’Ardoise du Marché’s menu reflects the chef’s journeys, balancing the flavors of the East and West.
Gaëtan Evrard from L’Evidence
Gaëtan Evrard is an instinctive chef who draws his inspiration from the local, seasonal ingredients and terroir that surrounds him. L’Evidence is a one-Michelin-starred restaurant located near Tours in the town of Montbazon, offering up a creative culinary experience. Chef Evrard’s constantly evolving menus aim to offer the perfect balance between hyper-seasonal and hyper-local products. Authentic and natural, his recipes are designed to surprise and delight guests with the richness of their flavors and the exceptional harvests they celebrate. Tasting menus include a five-course “Inspiration Menu” with courses named: Land & Sea, Forest, Interlude, Sea Spray and Undergrowth.