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30th May 2023

High achieving young chefs enjoy trip to culinary heartland of France

Written by: Edward Waddell
Earlier this month Grande Cuisine and the Grande Cuisine Academy took a group of high achieving young chefs on an educational trip to visit artisan producers, manufacturers and restaurants in the culinary heartland of France, around Lyon.

Accompanying Craft Guild of Chefs vice-president Steve Munkley on the gastronomic trip were a host of young chefs with links to the leading chef’s organisation. The past three winners of the Young National Chef of the Year competition were on the trip, including William Keeble (2020), Daniel Cornish (2021) and Mae Dionio (2022). Also on the educational trip were the 2022 Graduate Awards highest achievers Ana Catarina Nogueira De Melo (pastry exam) and Jonathan Smith (kitchen exam).

The group’s first stop was the incredible Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, which plays host to some of the best French and international produce around. Whether it’s wine, patisserie, fruit and veg, saucisson, seafood or cheese, you’ll find it all here.

The next port of call was Chocolaterie Sandrine Chappaz. In the foothills of the Chartreuse Mountains, Sandrine and her family make some of the most incredible chocolate. The chefs learnt all about the chocolate making process and how Sandrine and her team use homegrown ingredients sourced from the garden or the mountains, as well as the nearby Chartreuse distillery, to make their exquisite chocolate collection.

Day one was rounded off by dinner at the brilliant Restaurant Chez Le Pèr'Gras which sits on the Bastille above Grenoble and is reached by cable car.

Day two started with a visit to the Athanor factory to see firsthand what goes into making their custom-built cook suites which grace some of the finest restaurant kitchens in the world. Each suite is built from start to finish by a single team – and built to last, using only the best components.

The trip concluded with lunch at the famous Brasserie Georges in Lyon where the group were able to reflect on an amazing trip before making the dash to the airport for their flight home.

Mae said: “Thank you to Grande Cuisine and the Craft Guild of Chefs for giving me the opportunity to see the beauty of Lyon. From the amazing produce and food at Les Halles De Lyon - Paul Bocuse, to the spectacular view of Grenoble from Restaurant Chez Le Pèr'Gras, it was all amazing.

“I particularly enjoyed the in-depth demonstration by Sandrine Chappaz Chocolatier, using single sourced chocolate and home-grown herbs. At the end of the trip, we had an informative tour of the Athanor factory thanks to Djamel and Margaux. The passion they have for their product was amazing and it was fascinating hearing how they are constantly evolving their products.”

The Craft Guild of Chefs thanks hosts Michael Ashton and Malcolm Morris from Grande Cuisine and everybody in the UK and France who made the trip possible.

Jonathan added: “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Lyon and all the amazing establishments with the Craft Guild of the Chefs and Grande Cuisine. Our visit to Sandrine Chappaz Chocolatier was interesting as we saw the process of creating each chocolate and how the creative flavours are made. I particularly enjoyed the fantastic view from Restaurant Chez Le Pèr'Gras on top of the mountain in Grenoble. The food was really good.

“At the Athanor factory, I learnt lots about the production of kitchen suites including the amount of time and effort that goes into the making of them. This is something you don’t think about when you are using them every day.”