36-year-old Arnaud Donckele is one of the youngest chefs to receive three Michelin stars. (at 35) After making a few stops at France’s best restaurants like Michel Guérard’s, Louis XV and Lasserre, the Normandy native has finally settled down at Résidence de La Pinède in Saint Tropez. The classic and serene hotel is antithesis to the general mood of this legendary holiday spot, where champagne is sprayed as often as it is drunk.
Somehow Arnaud’s cooking corresponds to the classic and classy environment it is served. The chef is a strong follower of the grand French cuisine school and you can feel that everywhere, starting from the opulent plates, “two services” dishes, finishing with trou normand, a tradition slowly disappearing from the modern gastronomic restaurants repertoire.
Arnaud Donckele cooking is all about celebrating France and the region the restaurant is located. Maybe it’s not exactly revolutionary or cutting edge as some Scandinavian style restaurants might it, but it is immensely enjoyable and I think this is what is eating should be all about.