The Big 6-0 for Relais & Châteaux

Hôtel Dieu in Lyon France, to be the new InterContinental hotel
Hôtel Dieu in Lyon, France // Photo by ventdusud/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

THREE GENERATIONS OF CHEFS: The Troisgros family, César, Marie-Pierre, Michel and Pierre. Michel Troisgros is the owner of the famed “La Maison Troisgros” in Roanne.

THREE GENERATIONS OF CHEFS: The Troisgros family, César, Marie-Pierre, Michel and Pierre. Michel Troisgros is the owner of the famed “La Maison Troisgros” in Roanne.

 

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Relais & Châteaux is celebrating its 60th birthday in 2014, and Luxury Travel Advisor joined 70 Grands Chefs (representing 54 Michelin stars) to fete the occasion in France. Georges Blanc, the Michelin three-star chef who has created a veritable culinary village in the countryside near Lyon, hosted a lavish affair designed with vintage touches. Sixty years to the day (May 12, 1954), eight hoteliers and chefs hatched the idea for Relais & Châteaux in a restaurant owned by Georges Blanc’s uncle. Today the group shares its art de vivre through a collection of 520 properties, each full of personality and soul, in 60 countries around the world.

Guests were transported in vintage cars (we rode in a Citroen DS, President Charles de Gaulle’s wheels of choice) and greeted by actors in period costumes. A 1950s style “marketplace” set the stage for free-flowing Moët & Chandon and appetizers prepared by chefs like Michel Troisgros. The lunch featured Blanc’s famous dishes, like the sautéed frogs’ legs, and Poulet de Bresse with morel mushrooms and Vonnas crêpes, which have been served for decades at the auberge.

“Relais & Châteaux represents the diversity of chefs all over the world. It’s our mission to protect and promote this diversity, along with our unique style of hospitality. We’re all in a big globalized village, but it’s important that each street keeps its own identity,” Olivier Roellinger, the celebrated chef from Brittany, told Luxury Travel Advisor.

The feasting didn’t stop after lunch. A Michelin three-star dinner featured multiple courses paired with Dom Pérignon and Château d’Yquem. The star of the show? The “surf and turf” jellied oyster garnished with Oscietra Royal caviar. Capping off the soirée, the brigade of chefs received a standing ovation, and the vice president of the Michelin Guide, Michael Ellis, stood to congratulate Blanc’s team.

“Relais & Châteaux is like a family to me,” Blanc told Luxury Travel Advisor. “I love my job; what could be better than giving so much pleasure to so many people?”    

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