With deep-seated love for gastronomic cuisine that has been passed down from one generation to another, Jean Michel Lorain continues a priceless legacy that is a family specialty.
By Percy Roxas.
Last month, Bangkok foodies were treated a rare opportunity to enjoy the fine cuisine created by Michelin-star Jean-Michel Lorain during the exclusive “Farm to Table” dinner organized at his restaurant, J’Aime.
A scion of the Lorain family, where a true love of gastronomy has been passed down through the generations, Jean-Michel has received numerous accolades throughout his career in recognition of his unrivalled expertise in the art of preparing fine cuisine.
Literally raised around fine cuisine, Jean-Michel inherited his love of gastronomy, and honed it, in the shadow of his grandmother and parents Michel and Jacqueline. Even today, Jean-Michel remembers admiringly watching their every move in the kitchen, captivated by the intoxicating aromas and exquisite ingredients.
This deep-seated love has been passed down from one generation to another and gastronomic cuisine quickly became a Lorain family specialty.
The labor of love and eye for perfection on the part of the Lorain family can be seen in the slightest details today at his exclusive hotel-cum-restaurant in Burgundy, Côte Saint Jacques, into which many long years of hard work went into achieving and sustaining its prestigious image.
From the kitchens to the rooms, from the service to the quality of the welcome and the superlative facilities offered to the customer, Côte Saint Jacques, was more than just a hotel or restaurant par excellence indeed. It was an experience to savored.
But while a solid reputation precedes him, Jean-Michel does not place himself at the center-stage, and even willingly admits to a certain distrust of awards and the many pitfalls of being in the media, “in the interests of putting the spotlight away from himself and onto his team and their peerless dedication,” says a member of his team.“
He would rather that hard work and respect always be the basis and overwhelming ‘trademark’ of a Lorain kitchen. Like at J’Aime in Bangkok.
“On all of my menus, you will find strong French staples such as ‘Bouef Bourguignon’ and the selection of desserts,” he shares. “You will also find some of my signature dishes such as quail and foie gras tourte on our menu. As for the desserts, our guests have a choice of eight delicious French dessert classics served in smaller portions.”
Other more contemporary dishes have been taken from the menu at La Côte Saint Jacques and adapted to the new style of service at J’Aime, Bangkok.
“All the dishes at here can be shared and our guests will be able to sample as many dishes as they want. My objective is to give classic French cuisine a more modern and less formal image.”
But Jean-Michel enjoys other kinds of cuisine. “Since I’ve been traveling around Asia, I have always enjoyed the various cooking styles and tastes of each country. I appreciate enormously the very social way of tasting and serving dishes common among Asian countries, which I think is friendlier and less formal than ours, so I decided to marry French cuisine with the Asian style of service.” A great example of this marriage is how he incorporated the famous Lazy Susan as the centerpiece that allows the dishes to easily be shared in his Bangkok restaurant.
“To receive three Michelin stars for 25 years at La Côte Saint Jacques, I have to constantly strive and work hard every day and compete with myself to ensure that everything is up to standard,” Jean-Michel says. In a way, the same personal philosophy applies to J’Aime in Bangkok, which his daughter Marine runs in his absence.
And, as in La Côte Saint Jacques, there is only one important factor in the entire equation at J’AIme. What is it? “Guest happiness,” was Jean-Michel’s quick reply.