Benoit Violier RIP
Interviewed September 2012
Benoit was the head chef of 3 star Michelin restaurant Hotel de Ville in Crissier.
Q – How long have you been cooking professionally?
Q – Where did you train to cook?
I made my first steps in cooking with my mother, who is a brilliant cook. My father, who is a winegrower and a hunter, made me discover the special features of wines and famous Cognacs and also the different techniques in hunting, especially small game. I was open-minded and curious about everything related to cookery,so naturally decided to make it my career. From 1987 until 1990, I followed my dream in Charentes Maritime, where I pursued a double internship of cook and then confectioner with Didier Stéphan. I continued his training with the best French chefs in Bordeaux, Toulouse and Senlis. At the end of 1991 I arrived in Paris, where I worked with Joël Robuchon, Benoît Guichard, Bruno Gircourt, Sylvain Knecht, Jean Philipon, Frédérin Anton and Eric Bouchenoire. I perfected my art with Lenôtre, Fauchon, Le Ritz, La Tour d’Argent, and alongsides Raymond Hébert, André Moreau, Jean-Jacques Barbier, Georges Roux regularly, only to name close friends. With them I learnt strictness, discipline, the art of beautiful gestures and the knowledge of the best products someone can find on the market. I obtained cookery and pastry skills.
Q – How would you describe your style of cooking?
I introduced a new way, much more complete, to approach the works of art and craft around the kitchen.
Q – Is there a secret for a successful restaurant?
The strictness about myself always has to increase more and more and the gestures pushed in its most pure way. Nothing can be definitively acquired; everything must be done all over again every day. My enthusiasm makes me become a passer of knowledge in the art of good taste, knowledge of the ancients and the achievements of modernity. I love communicating my passion with those who fall in love with cookery, just like me.
Q – Do you have a “signature dish” or favourite dish you enjoy cooking?
I don’t have a favorite dish; my desires change seasonally. In the spring, I adore savoring morels. When it is summer time, I can’t do without mushrooms. Fall is underlined by my biggest passion: game hunting. To conclude, during the winter, the flavor of black truffles embellishes my meals.
Q – Do you have a favourite ingredient?
Probably mushrooms. They define the seasons.
Which restaurant do you most enjoy eating at on your night off?
Le Chat noir in Lausanne and Le Lexique in Geneva
What is your most interesting or fun experience from your time in restaurants?
When younger, I discovered tastes and sensations I still remember and will never forget. That was during my first visit to L'Atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon, Publicis Drugstore in Paris. A revelation.
What would be your “last request” dish?
At my mother’s home, the Poularde fermière with ceps
Is there another chef that you most admire?
Joël Robuchon - Fredy Girardet - Philippe Rochat
Any advice you would give to someone wanting to become a chef?
To be direct and loyal. Use work, method and a lot of reflection.
Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Our new custom menu presenting the best and rare products of the “Game season”.
Hotel de Ville