Chef and owner of the world-renowned Hotel de Ville Restaurant in Crissier, Benoît Violier is one of those men who succeeds in everything. Nominated “Chef of the year” in Germany last year, he was attributed of 3 Michelin stars and a 19/20 mark at the Gault et Millau scale. True craftsmanship is his first belief and he proves it through his art as well as his words.
HIS VISION OF CRAFTSMANSHIP
I am truly impassioned by art – watchmaking, sculpture, painting, leather work, cooking – because before anything, the work of a Chef is a manual art. I admire everything that the hand makes and I fight for the preservation of this know-how. Craftsmanship brings us back to our origins, to an era where the hand was man’s only tool. In time, we have tried to extend it, among others, through the use of instruments. Even if craftsmanship has become more sophisticated, the hand always remains master and director of the action. It’s a heritage that we must perpetuate.
Motivated by this love for craftsmanship and its safeguarding, I joined the Companionship network called “Compagnons du Tour de France des Devoirs Unis”, as soon as I could. It’s a traditional institution of education to the arts and manual crafts, among which cooking. The apprenticeship occurs along a journey undertaken by the aspiring Companion converging towards the masters of his craft who teach him their knowledge and experience. At the end of this quest, the aspiring craftsman is acknowledged “Companion” and becomes in turn, a teacher. My “Tour de France” ended in Crissier, Switzerland, where I was welcomed in 2003. I now have the honor to teach to the aspiring cooks around me, the art of the beautiful gesture, so important in our work.
A TYPICAL DAY
My alarm rings at 7, after a short night. I have my breakfast in front of the news broadcast and around 8.30, I go down to the kitchen (my apartment is located right above the restaurant) and have a ritual coffee with my Chef, Franck Giovannini. We look over the deliveries, the reservations and special requests. Then I jump into a series of meetings until 11 o’clock, where the whole managing team meets for lunch. The meal set up start and first customers arrive. At the end of the service, around 3 o’clock, I start my now customary tour of the room during which I have it at heart to greet all of my guests. Depending on its duration, I grant myself a break between 16.30 and 17.45. At 18 o’clock, I come down to the kitchen for dinner, still in company of the managing team. I leap right in to the evening service and my tour of the room. I generally come up to my premises between midnight and 1 am and go to bed instantly. The days are pretty intense.
HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME
Outside of the restaurant’s daily activity, I get down to many projects, among which the development of the Cooking Academy of Benoît Violier, the setting-up of a national cooking contest, writing books etc. I am a true hyperactive and I often regret that the days have only 24 hours. My professional life is a real race against time! It doesn’t allow us to spend much time as a family. Which is why Sunday is a sacred day. We try to cut ourselves away from the world, to go for a walk or eat a dish at a restaurant. It’s essential for Brigitte and me to be present alongside our son Romain.