A successful transition
While many people know that The Waterside Inn achieved its three Michelin stars in 1985 under Michel’s leadership, few appreciate that it is his son Alain who has retained that accolade for the past 12 years or so.
When his youngest child – and only son – announced at the age of 14 that he wanted to become a chef, Michel agreed it might be an idea for him to work at The Waterside Inn one day! But Alain wanted to gain as much experience as possible in different places. After his apprenticeship (in pastry, of course), he spent seven years touring some of France’s most notable kitchens, including the three-Michelin-starred restaurant of La Cote Saint Jacques in Joigny and Restaurant Pic in Valence.
By 1992, he was ready to join his father in Bray, beginning as demi-chef de partie. Just a few years later, he prepared a lièvre a la royale for Michel, a highly complex recipe requiring stamina and real culinary talent, which most people could not achieve in a lifetime. It was then that Michel knew his son would be worthy of the title “chef-patron”.
Pretty soon Alain will have been running a three star restaurant longer than his father. While Michel will admit that Alain’s cooking is indeed lighter and more accessible than his own, he believes it is right for the new generation and continues the culinary evolution.
“Maintaining such high standards requires creativity, consistency and team leadership par excellence. This is my son. What father could fail to be proud of such a successful transition?”