Hélène Darroze, a cook who makes you travel to the stars
When you ask your family, friends and collaborators to talk about chef Hélène Darroze, one word comes up insistently: generosity. Mother of two daughters, Hélène cooks as she likes: with passion and sincerity. What she offers with such dedication, she draws from the strength of her roots.
Fourth generation of her family to be behind the stove, she received the keys to the family Relais & Châteaux in Villeneuve-de-Marsan from her father in 1995. Since then, she has remained faithful to the values of authenticity and respect., Anchored in her since her childhood in the Southwest, this self-taught cook shines with sincerity in the gastronomic landscape.
“The southwest? My roots, my name, my family, my land. I am made of traditions, I respect with great humility what the land of my ancestors bequeathed to meshe says. It is in this region that the art of eating well was instilled in me, but also that of receiving well, of sharing well, the art of living well, quite simply.
“I never wanted to be called chefshe also says, in remarks reported by the Belgian magazine Le Vif. I explain to all my collaborators that it is not with a title that one is respected. Whether in Paris, London or Provence, she considers gastronomy as “the opportunity to give pleasure, to offer happiness”. “My cooking is alive and linked to feelings. My quest: to ensure that a meal in one of my restaurants remains unforgettable for my guests.”
Hélène Darroze in a few dates
February 23, 1967: born in Mont-de-Marsan (Landes)
December 1990: collaboration with Alain Ducasse at the Louis XV, the restaurant of the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo (Monaco)
February 2003: obtaining a second star for her Parisian restaurant Hélène Darroze, opened in 1999, after a first star received in February 2000
April 2007: designated for the second time “chef of the year” by the guide Pudlowski, after a first time in October 2001
January 2009: Hélène Darroze at the Connaught is rewarded by the Tatler guide as “fabulous food in London”
January 2011: obtaining a second Michelin star for Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, opened in 2008, after a first star won in January 2009
January 2015: member of the jury of “Top Chef” on M6 for the first time
May 2015: she receives the 2015 Veuve Clicquot Prize for the best female chef in the world
December 2020: promoted to Officer of the National Order of Merit by President Emmanuel Macron, after being successively Knight of the National Order of Merit in January 2008 and Knight of the Legion of Honor in December 2012
January 2021: obtaining a second Michelin star for Marsan and a third star for Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, making her the second most awarded female chef in the world
March 22, 2022: obtaining a star in the Michelin guide for Hélène Darroze at Villa La Coste (Provence), less than a year after her arrival in the establishment
January 2023: opening of Jòia Bun in Paris
Marsan (two stars), Parisian restaurant of Hélène Darroze
In May 2019, the chef inaugurated Marsan by Hélène Darroze. Twenty years after the opening of her first Parisian restaurant which bore her name, the cook from the Landes has reconnected with her roots and sublimated her work in an entirely redesigned space.
The dining room of the Marsan restaurant, all in elegance. | Jean-Marc Palisse
The Pays de Marsan is the cradle of the Darroze family. In this part of the Landes where ducks are raised and Armagnac is drunk, pine and oak forests alternate with cornfields. Viscerally attached to her land, Hélène Darroze chose to pay homage to it and baptize her restaurant with this beautiful Gascon name: Marsan. His desire: to offer his customers a unique gourmet experience drawn from his childhood memories, his family heritage and the Basque-Landes gastronomic culture.
The establishment’s “dining room” unfolds with elegance to give rise to a most personal experience, where Hélène Darroze’s cuisine expresses itself with curiosity, talent and intuition.
At the Marsan restaurant, foie gras. | Marie-Pierre Morel
On the menu, the dishes tell a new story every day: oysters from Charente sit alongside caviar and corn beans from Béarn; the blue lobster from Brittany is flavored with hay and meets a few porcini mushrooms from Bordeaux; scallops marry India, mixed with tandoori spices and fresh coriander; wood pigeon with ras el-hanout (a mixture of spices and oriental herbs) evokes travel; and the baba imbibes an Armagnac from the cellars of the cook’s brother.
The caviar. | Marie-Pierre Morel
The menu at lunch time is 95 euros from Tuesday to Friday, at dinner at 225 euros. The six-course tour around the white truffle of Alba is 420 euros.
The “chef’s table”
Upstairs, the kitchen shows the ballet of busy and concentrated cooks. In the center, Hélène’s table, set for seven people, allows you to share a moment, an anecdote, an emotion with the chef or his team.
The “sharing table”
On the ground floor, seated around a large contemporary farmhouse table with twenty seats and surrounded by sublime cuvées from all over the world, you can discover or rediscover Hélène Darroze’s cuisine in a warm and human atmosphere conducive to beautiful met. Menu at lunch time at 55 euros from Tuesday to Friday.
4, rue d’Assas 75006 Paris. Tel.: 01 42 22 00 11. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Jòia, his bistronomic address in the capital
In September 2018, Hélène Darroze subsequently opened a new restaurant in the IIe district of Paris, on two floors: Jòia. Its competent team and its brilliant menu make you want to come back every day.
The lounge of the Jòia restaurant upstairs, a place where you would be tempted to come every day. | Nicolas Buisson
In the kitchen, grandmother’s recipes rub shoulders with dishes inspired by London, New York or Italy. In the vast room with large bay windows, the light is dazzling, the atmosphere radiant and a clientele of all styles and ages is present. Hélène’s table offers a bird’s eye view of the open kitchen.
The Jòia restaurant room on the ground floor, to admire the ballet of the cooks. | Nicolas Buisson
Built around conviviality and sharing, the menu and menu also offer dishes to share.
Extracts from the lunch menu (58 euros):
- entries: the perfect chicken egg, piperade with sweet peppers from Anglet, seared guanciale; terrine of Landes foie gras confit with Timut pepper.
- Pisces: whole roasted chipotle rock octopus with taggiasche olives, candied lemons and fresh cilantro; line-caught hake from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Spanish style, chimichurri condiment (chili peppers).
Octopus. | Bernhard Winkelman
- meats: Ibaïama pork ribs with tandoori spices, herb salad, fresh coriander jus; yellow Landes chicken brioche with foie gras under the skin, roasted in spatchcock.
- desserts: thousand pancakes with matcha tea, yuzu cream; crispy profiteroles with mocha coffee and hot chocolate sauce.
Mille-pancakes with matcha tea. | Bernhard Winkelman
Weekly (32 euros):
- Tuesday and Wednesday: Dubarry velouté, roasted cauliflower with curry, bottarga; braised beef chuck, salsify and kumquat, red wine sauce; chestnut cake, blackcurrant sorbet.
- Thursday and Friday: roasted carrots, citrus vinegar, sobacha (buckwheat tea), Basque sheep’s cheese breuil; Grenoble-style salmon steak, spinach and candied lemons; chestnut cake, blackcurrant sorbet.
- Saturday Grill: Prime rib for two people, crispy potatoes, Béarnaise sauce (80 euros).
39, rue des Jeuneurs, 75002 Paris. Tel.: 01 40 20 06 06. At lunch, menu at 58 euros and weekly at 32 euros (starter, main course, dessert). Brunch on Sunday (48 euros). No closure.
The Villa La Coste (one star), its establishment in Provence
From now on, Hélène Darroze also orchestrates the kitchen of Villa La Coste. She offers dishes in her image, imbued with emotions, inspired by the gardens of the place and the surrounding area, sublimating local Provençal and seasonal products.
The dining room at Villa La Coste. | Bernhard Winkelman
This is an opportunity for her to remember her years of learning spent in the land of Provence, where her vocation appeared as obvious.
Hake and artichoke. | Bernhard Winkelman
Lunch menus at 85 euros (three courses), 138 euros (five courses), Sunday lunch at 138 euros, dinner at 170 euros.
Cherry for dessert. | Bernhard Winkelman
2750, route de la Cride, 13610 Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade. Tel.: 04 42 50 50 00. No closing time.
Hélène Darroze at the Connaught (three stars), London restaurant
In 2008, the legendary Connaught Hotel in the prestigious district of Mayfair eyed French chefs to run its kitchens. It was Hélène Darroze who took up the challenge, took charge of the kitchens and created her gastronomic restaurant, now crowned with three stars.
The room of the restaurant Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, crowned with three stars. | Jerome Galland
Lunch menus at 103 euros, and “Goût d’Automne” dinner at 183 euros.
At Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, shrimp. | helenedarrozeattheconnaught
Carlos Place, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL, Great Britain. Tel.: +44 20 31 47 7200. Closed Sunday and Monday.
A few pounds for dessert?
Sharing her recipes and secrets, Hélène Darroze has published several books. The latest, My house, offers recipes designed, made and photographed by her, at home, with her two daughters. The book is intimate, we discover her grandmother’s checkered tablecloth, her personal photos, her tips, as well as the famous dishes of her native Southwest. A kind of return to basics where we prepare good products for those we love: the best ingredients to make spontaneous, generous and seductive recipes.
Very present on Instagram, in particular with her hashtag #SiCEstPasLeBonheurCaYRessemble, Hélène Darroze shares her moments of life, her daily life as a chef, behind the scenes of the filming of “Top Chef”, season after season, on the M6 channel. She is one of the most followed restaurateurs on the network with more than 668,000 subscribers.
Look for noon
Released November 12, 2020
His other works: