A poet under the stars
At age 43, Guy Martin, the chef of Grand Véfour, was awarded
3 Michelin stars. This was the only restaurant to win 3 stars in the
Red Michelin Guide 2000.
Yet nothing originally predisposed Guy Martin to become one of the
best French chefs. No family history. No special inclination. When
he was a kid, he dreamt of being a doctor or a rock musician. He studied
cuisine not for the art of it, but just to be with his musician friends.
He was first trained in a pizzeria
far from a prestigious establishment.
But it was in this local Italian restaurant where he was an apprentice
that he had a revelation. He then started intense on-the-job training,
which would bring him to the top of French gastronomy some 20 years
From 1981 to 1991, he was employed as a chef in Relais & Châteaux.
He worked for 3 years at the Château de Coudrée on Lake
Geneva, then for 8 years at Château de Divonne as chef and manager.
This is where he got his first Michelin star in 1985, and 5 years
later his second.
In November 1991, Mr. Taittinger offered him the position of chef
and manager of Grand Véfour. Seduced by the beauty and the
rich history of the restaurant nestled in the Palais Royal gardens,
Guy Martin decided to leave his home in Savoie. Then came the awards;
one after another, year after year.
In 1992, he was honored with the Fourneau dOr de la Gastronomie
Française. The year after, he received the highest ranking
in Frances Champérard Guide and won the "Atmosphere"
Prize. In 1994, he was elected "Young Chef of the Year"
by the Champérard Guide, and in 1995, "Best Chef of the
Year" by the Pudlowski Guide. In 1996 and 1999, he was recognized
as "Best European Chef" by the Greek magazine Status, in
1997, "Best European Chef" of the Year in Portugal, in 1999,
"Best Chef of the Year" by the Gault-Millau Guide with a
19 out of 20 rating and in 2000, "Best Chef of the Year"
by the Champérard Guide. Plus, he was honored with three Michelin
stars by The Red Michelin Guide 2000.
In 1994, he became the administrator of Grand Véfour, and
then a year later, he was promoted to President. That same
year, he was appointed counselor to the President of the
French High-Gastronomy Chamber. In 1997, he received
a literary prize for his book "Gourmand Recipes" and he
was made "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres"
(a highly prestigious distinction) by the French Minister
of Culture, Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy.
Nonetheless, Guy Martin remains a simple, modest
and discrete chef. With his Savoyard soul, he does not
talk much about his cuisine and even less about himself.
But if you start discussing literature or painting with him,
he becomes animated and passionate; his inner poet