Chef Sandro Micheli is Gault & Millau’s Pastry Chef of the Year
Chef Sandro Micheli, from the Louis XV – Alain Ducasse restaurant, was crowned “pastry chef of the year” by Gault & Millau. Since 2013, Sandro Micheli has been the chief pastry chef for the Louis XV restaurant at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco.
Sandro Micheli developed his extraordinary pastry skills through a fairly traditional European route. The chef first discovered his sweet tooth in his home town of Belfort, and at age 14, he joined the ranks of adolescent culinary trainees at the Lycée H. Friant in Poligny. Spending time in a family pastry shop in Belfort, he honed his technical skills, chocolate expertise and expanded his knowledge on the art of the craft.
After leaving home, Micheli took up an official pastry chef position at none other than Restaurant Paul Bocuse near culinary capital Lyon. He then went on to join the three Michelin star restaurant Michel Guérard in Eugenie-les-Bains, where he produced creations with the freshest herbs and fruit picked from the garden. He continued to sharpen his skills as a pastry sous chef at the Restaurant Les Crayères in Reims, Champagne, before taking off to New York for five years. Then, in 2005, he joined the Alain Ducasse Groupe as pastry chef before teaming up with Ducasse to open Adour in the legendary St. Regis Hotel.
Today, in Monaco, Micheli still practices what he learned as a young teenager: to create pastries which express the beauty of pure ingredients and artisanal pride.
The Gault & Millau Adventure
Reporter Henri Gault and editor Christian Millau created a weekly column in the 1960’s to explore the secrets of Paris and its outskirts. Readers became most interested in learning about hidden restaurants off the beaten path. The column’s success was immediate, and at the time, readers were re-discovering weekends, leisure and palettes were craving dishes that were natural and authentic. To keep up with popular demand, Gault wrote one article a day, then a special for the Parisian weekend section.
A guide, which featured restaurants, craftsmen, wine merchants, hotels and walks, was born. A few years later, the guide went national and began to seek out forgotten flavours and simplicity (for example: a simple salad made of green beans and tomatoes). La Nouvelle Cuisine was born, an innovative concept which would develop their success.
The first Gault & Millau Guide de France was created in 1972, with criteria that ignored the wealth of the place, the dishes or the cleanliness (values advocated by Michelin) but the taste, the presentation and imagination of the chef.
Strawberry, lemon and chocolate desserts
Taking full advantage of regional flavours, like the small, wild carros strawberry or lemons from Menton, Chef Sandro Micheli likes to play with the acidity and bitterness of fruits as well as the power of chocolate. The Chef keeps the full flavour of fresh fruit in mind to minimize the fat, sweetness and richness of the dishes.
In the beautiful and luxurious setting of the Louis XV – Alain Ducasse restaurant, Chef Sandro Micheli stays grounded in the basics of pastry making: good leafing, a good brioche, layering an opera cake, or making a Saint-Honoré. And he continues to create one of his favourite desserts, a special version of the rum baba, which he designed in Monaco.