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Stéphanie Le Quellec, the innkeeper who hunts the stars

In the midst of a pandemic, restaurateurs are divided between optimists who consider themselves happy not to have laid off any employees and the most pessimists who forecast a massacre when government aid ceases.

And then there is Stéphanie Le Quellec. In December 2020, the 39-year-old chef opened in Paris Mam, a new brand format, halfway between the grocery store, the caterer and the pastry shop. At the start of 2021, it also invested in a vegetable garden in Candé-sur-Beuvron (Loir-et-Cher) to supply its Parisian restaurant, La Scène, today awarded two stars. “I’m not ashamed to say it, I don’t want to stop there. I may never have three stars, but I am giving myself the means. “

With this in mind, over the past year, it has doubled the volume of its wine cellar, and plans, when it reopens, to reduce the number of covers. Her ambitions are not fueled by Qatari investors or a powerful hotel group: her business belongs only to her and her husband. “We take loans, we mortgage the apartment. I put my head on the chopping block. But today, I am in a construction dynamic, so we are investing ”, she explains simply.

Lighting : Stéphanie Le Quellec and Amandine Chaignot, the life of a chef after the palace

Stéphanie Le Quellec has been on an upward slope for ten years. After winning “Top Chef” in 2011, she ran the kitchens of the Parisian palace Prince-de-Galles, where she obtained her second star in 2019. The same year, she left it to set up on her own account and managed to recover the prestigious distinction.

Today, she has one goal: to bring ” Magic “ to its technically perfect cuisine. She wants to reach “A depth and a power in the tastes” which would leave the client upset, as it was at La Vague d’Or. At the three-star hotel in Saint-Tropez (Var), last summer, she shed a tear while crunching in a tomato tatin “Not ostentatious, but perfect”.

The brand new vegetable garden in Candé-sur-Beuvron is one way to achieve this. She herself has selected the old varieties of beans, beets, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, etc., which she will harvest when the time is right for her cooking. So the peas will be picked “Still babies, full of sugar and with a very thin membrane that you don’t need to shell. We will transform them to a minimum, we will adapt the cooking to their maturity, to obtain a quintessential flavor “, rejoices Stéphanie Le Quellec.

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