A luxury hotel with a conscience
After making headlines as the first luxury hotel to win five Michelin stars in its three restaurants Le Cinq (3 stars), Le George (1 star) and L’Orangerie (1 star), the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris has committed to the cause of tomorrow’s fine cuisine.
Simone Zanoni explains: “When we open up the path to excellence, we are bound to imagine tomorrow‘s fine cuisine. And it will only reach its full potential through exemplary environmental responsibility. I’m not perfect, but I’m convinced that if everyone plays their part we could have a real impact for future generations. As chefs, we have a duty to educate and lead by example.“
15 kilometres from Paris: a sustainably farmed kitchen garden
“For 10 years, no chemicals have disturbed the growth of the plants and animals in this garden. Adapted management, eco-grazing, biodynamics… The gardeners have evolved their farming methods and since April 2016, the fruit and vegetables grown there have been fabulous,” explains Mickaël Duval, Parks and Gardens Manager for the Yvelines Département and leader of the “Green Brigade.” – A team of twenty people on return-to-work contracts who are providing their expertise.
Fighting food waste
The luxury hotel and Mecca for fine dining signed a partnership with Parisian start-up “Les Alchimistes”, which collects organic waste from hotel restaurants and processes it into compost “made in Paris“. It feeds the soils of the Versailles garden, whose fruit and vegetables are served in the Michelin-starred dishes of Le George restaurant. In this way, the George V has created a new virtuous plate-to-plate biosystem.
ABOUT SIMONE ZANONI
Simone Zanoni was born in Salò, Italy, and has had a passion for gastronomy since the age of six. Starting his gastronomic journey as a farmer on his family’s small plot of land, Zanoni learnt about the importance of food sustainability from a young age. He started his career in London in 1997 and was able to put his stamp on many successful restaurants in the city. In September 2016, Simone Zanoni
was appointed Chef of Le George, the Mediterranean-style restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. In his new role, Chef Zanoni sought to create a journey of flavours for guests through his cuisine and hospitality. Preserving the highly successful menu, he gradually developed a selection of dishes with his own influences and inspirations such as the signature onion tarte tatin with parmesan sorbet. In
February 2017, Chef Zanoni was awarded with a Michelin star for Le George’s restaurant.
ABOUT MICKAEL DUVAL
Mickaël Duval discovered the pleasure of gardening and growing produce from his maternal grandmother who was a farmer in the Perche region of France. He subsequently enrolled in a horticultural course while attending the landscape architecture lectures with renowned architect, Gilles Clément, farmer philosopher, Pierre Rabhi and botanist, Jean Marie Pelt. In 2006, Duval became Heritage Administrator within the Green Space department of the Yvelines Département Council. In 2016, Duval was promoted to Manager of the Estate of Madame Elisabeth. His new challenge is to reinstate confidence and the taste for work to jobseekers, the “Green Brigades”, in areas such as market gardening, gardening and floriculture.
THE ESTATE OF MADAME ELISABETH
In 1783, King Louis XVI announced his intention to purchase a property belonging to the Prince of Guéméné, to gift to his younger sister, Madame Elisabeth. The country house was located in the village of Montreuil, which was independent from Versailles at the time. The Princess, who was known for her generosity with the local community and earned her nickname of the Good Lady of Montreuil, had just turned age 19.
Two centuries later, the Estate of Madame Elisabeth has become one of the latest Versailles palace Gardens (beyond the Palace Park), which is open to the public free of charge from March to October.
“I discovered the Estate of Madame Elisabeth one year ago, at the time of the “Taste of Yvelines” Festival, of which I was the sponsor in November 2016. I met Mickaël Duval there and I was immediately won over by this enthusiastic young man who was keen to promote this little-known historic site. We shared the same values, and our desire to commit and awaken this sleeping beauty to take action for change then became clear to us.” Says Simone Zanoni.
The Estate of Madame Elisabeth, long unknown to the public, is today a place dedicated to nature, the arts and culture. Regular activities highlight the seasons, urban ecology and heritage. A training centre is located in the grounds, where parasitology research is conducted; a new concept of agronomy that is connected to the garden’s core beliefs. There is also an open-air laboratory where new technologies and traditional agricultural knowledge are infused to create a sustainable initiative that is ahead of its time.
On the sustainable initiative, Chef Zanoni said, “I am not inventing anything, many chefs have walked this path before me, like Alain Passard and his kitchen garden at Le Mans, Alain Ducasse at the Potager de la Reine, a few miles away, or Thomas Keller, a precursor who was already producing 98% of his vegetables in his kitchen garden 15 years ago. I was 26 when he explained to me his mission, and today, at 41, I want to join those chefs who support the protection of our planet and set an example.”