Creator of La Cuisine de Santé® at Eugénie-les Bains, the charismatic Michel Guérard, a chef with a three-star rating from the famous Michelin food guide, is also a wine producer in the Tursan wine district in the Landes region. ‘A cook,’ he says, ‘must know how to make bread and wine.’
How did you end up being a winemaker?
As an apprentice in the 1950s, when we were still under the restrictions of the Second World War, I, like many other people, developed the art of resourcefulness. I had been involved, for example, in the making of white wine from a grape variety which is today banned, the Noah, which sends you a bit crazy … and which we used to cook fish. Similarly, we distilled, once a year, in total secrecy, a very good brandy. I’ve always thought that a cook should know how to make bread and wine. In the same way, just before we planted our grape vines at the Chateau de Bachen, I learnt, over the course of seven months at the wine science institute in Bordeaux, the essentials of this captivating profession.
Which wine-growing traditions inspire you?
The grape vine is constantly teaching you about life. I have always been impressed by the elegant fatalism with which the winegrowers here deal with being at the mercy of the weather. Then comes the joy of the grape harvest, which overcomes this problem, and the wine goes on inspiring passionate discussions.
Which traditional matches of food and wine do you like to overturn?
I have, on occasions, dared to mix caviar and sauternes! Or to propose a glass of almost frozen Barsac or Jurançon to soothe the heat of a chicken infused with ground pepper and grilled on burning embers, under the skin of which I had slipped in a purée of olives and anchovies. Try it, it’s divine!
Les Prés d'Eugénie
334, rue René Vielle
Phone: +33 (0)5 58 05 06 07