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A Chef’s take on Time - Franck Giovannini

A Chef’s take on Time Franck Giovannini

Interview with Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville's Three Michelin-starred chef

It is undoubtedly the Pantheon of Swiss gastronomy, the legendary address for master chefs who continue to mark our culinary history with their talent and inventiveness. Fredy Girardet, Philippe Rochat, Benoît Violier and today Franck Giovannini the four culinary musketeers who will never be forgotten. With three Michelin stars, a 19-point Gault&Millau rating and membership of the prestigious Les Grandes Tables du Monde association, Chef Giovannini from the Hôtel de Ville in Crissier takes his seat at the GMT table to share his thoughts. A sense of quiet strength, serenity and wisdom governing his expertise are instantly apparent in this reassuring individual.

Time goes by and your restaurant is still at the top of its game, so is time on your side?
(Big smile). Thank you for the compliment. Yes, I think one might say time is an ally that must be cleverly mastered, without undue stress yet with respect for every second. Our dishes are timed like mini-Olympic Games. In addition, we are the land of watchmaking precision, which is somehow part of our DNA. We therefore make the most of this sense of detail and meticulous care in order to ensure that our clients enjoy the best possible experience. 

A chef’s take on time

What was your first watchmaking emotion within the context of your work?
I remember it well. It was during the Bocuse d’Or competition in Switzerland. Together with Blancpain I produced a dish that emulated the deft touches and designs observed during an enlightening visit to the Manufacture – an odyssey that is in fact captured in a short film. I was stunned by the complexity of the work, the intense concentration, the peace, the delicacy and the mastery of execution. I won first prize and received a magnificent Blancpain chronographe Leman Flyback watch.

A chef’s take on time

Léman Flyback Chronograph © Blancpain

A watchmaking anecdote with regard to your three Michelin stars as a chef?
(Laughs) Sure! I remember that during the time of Mr Philippe Rochat, a great fan of watches, Benoît Violier and I (as a sous-chef at the time) regularly saw him come into the kitchen, look at the list of clients and exclaim: “Darn, I’m not wearing the right watch.” This meant there was a representative of a watchmaking Maison who was in the dining room with his clients and that the chef was wearing a watch from a competitor company. He would race off and come back with the right timepiece. This occurred many times. For the third star, I was honored and flattered to receive a gift from Le Brassus in the form of a magnificent steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, to congratulate me on the work I had done. Audemars Piguet has always been an important brand and a great “timely” ally to whom I am still grateful today for their trust in me.

It is my understanding that loyalty and longevity receive a horological reward at the Hôtel de Ville?
Thanks to a friendly partnership with Omega, I am indeed happy to be able to offer employees with more than ten years of service a personalized Omega watch specially produced for our restaurant and not available to the general public. They are magnificent and in fact clients are always keen to buy them but in order to do that you need to put up with me for ten years (laughter). I’m still waiting for applications!

Your dream watch?
Without casting any shade on many brands that I love and wear, I think I would choose a steel Patek Philippe Nautilus. Stream-lined, almost legendary and endowed with a timeless allure, it defies time and is on my Christmas wish list… 

A chef’s take on time

Nautilus © Patek Philippe

As a World Tempus reader, we are delighted to offer you the latest digital version of this GMT magazine that you can download here. Happy reading!

Gaiety, Strenght and Confidence

© GMT Magazine

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