Paris met ‘The Paris of the Middle East’ recently, when the celebrated Michelin-star chef of Hôtel de Crillon, Christopher Hache, joined Beirut’s French cuisine master, Chef Youssef Akiki of Burgundy restaurant, to create an illustrious menu for none other than world-renowned fashion designer, Elie Saab.
The 36-year-old executive chef of the recently revamped Paris hotel had arrived in Beirut just a few days earlier to prepare his menu for a private dinner hosted by Saab in his home. At Burgundy, Chef Hache prepped with the restaurant’s executive chef, who himself is no stranger to high-profile guests and celebrities. Asked about his trip to Beirut, Chef Hache said, “We decided to come to Lebanon to meet with people in their own country and present the hotel’s ‘le luxe à la francaise’ experience. We were searching for someone who would be the closest fit and it was clear that Elie Saab is the indisputable representation of luxury and style.”
Turning to the collaboration, he explained, “For the menu we were approached to work with Chef Youssef Akiki and Burgundy restaurant. Youssef has acquired a great deal of knowledge about the product and is always searching for the best quality ingredients and fine Lebanese producers.”
The menu for the dinner consisted of:
- Champignons de Paris
- La Tourtatouille
- Carré d’Agneau enroullé avec la Katayeif
- Quinoa au Thym sauvage
- Amuse bouche Tomate verte et Menthe sauvage
Chef Hache explained that katayeif was used to roll the rack of lamb and included the amuse bouche from Burgundy’s menu to incorporate Lebanese flavors.
Parisians are well acquainted with the Lebanese ‘joie de vivre’, especially at the Hôtel de Crillon, in part through the work of Aline Asmar, the Beirut-born architect and designer. Asmar was a relative newcomer in 2011, when the Saudi owner of the hotel chose her to renovate the interiors of the grand building, which dates back to 1753 and overlooks the Place de la Concorde.
When the hotel closed for a year and half for renovation, Chef Hache traveled the globe, visiting the best chefs in the world, in search of culinary inspiration and reflection. He worked on the concept of the hotel, creating and personalizing all of the details, from the tableware to the architecture, and sourced the best products, while assembling his team of 65 chefs and 380 collaborators. The hotel reopened in July 2017 and, in February, Chef Hache was awarded a Michelin star.
L’Ecrin is the hidden gem of Hôtel de Crillon. Featuring a delicate and refined contemporary décor, guests are taken on an exquisite culinary journey, highlighting the inventive cuisine of Chef Christopher. The gastronomic menu reflects his personality: Refined, precise and sophisticated without sacrificing conviviality.