Tyranny of Mushrooms – Dinner Date with Régis Marcon

Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid, nestled on a lush green Haute-Loire plateau, is home to a three-Michelin-star restaurant where Régis Marcon, one of the guests of honor at Cheese 2017, turns an infinite variety of mushrooms into spectacular meals.

The GPS tells us that we arrived at our destination: the small but lovely village of Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid, in the Haute-Loire in France’s Auvergne region.

Here, on a plateau, is the kingdom of Régis Marcon, the restaurant Régis & Jacques Marcon, holder of three Michelin stars for almost 15 years. “I haven’t done anything other than follow my passion and the way of my family,” says Régis with extreme modesty. The small bistro once managed by his mother has been completely transformed by Régis, his wife Michelle and their three children, who now work full time with him.

His unique menus are closely tied to the fruits and traditions of the surrounding land, where mushrooms reign supreme. As Marcon explains, “This is a mountain region and mushrooms have been my passion since I was a kid. In these woods, there are many different varieties which let me create countless recipes in the kitchen, paired with wild herbs from our meadows. They’re a real delicacy!”

Régis and his team are now preparing to come to Italy to cook for those lucky diners who manage to snag a spot at the “High-Altitude Existence” Dinner Date on Sunday September 17 in Pollenzo. “I can’t wait to come to Italy,” says Marcon. “Cheese is definitely an important meeting for the chefs, producers and herders who will enliven the event. Among us chefs, there should be respect and friendship instead of competition; only together we can really grow and improve, by sharing a world view through cooking, exactly according to the Slow Food spirit.”

“I am not coming to show off my three stars, but to share our experience, what we do and the passion we transmit with each of our dishes,” he continues. Marcon sources his ingredients mostly from local producers and is very attentive to sustainable development, a guiding principle at his restaurant, which is run according to environmentally friendly and energy-saving standards. “For us, sustainable development is about more than the local area, it is also synonymous with collaboration in the kitchen, good relationships within the team and respect for those we work with.”

Marcon recognizes that this philosophy is bearing fruit: “I notice with pleasure that more clients, especially more young people, are interested in high-quality gastronomy, the traceability of products and the stories behind them. This gives us enormous satisfaction and inspires us to improve every day.”

What will Marcon be serving us at Cheese? “Well, it’s a surprise! For now, I can tell you that mushroom-based dishes won’t be missing, and the menu will be a way to discover my region and its delicacies.”

With a limited number of places available, we recommend booking as soon as possible.

by Alessia Pautasso
a.pautasso@slowfood.it

Recipe

Porcini Mushrooms in Chestnut Leaves 

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 porcini or similar wild mushrooms (Boletus edulis, aerus or pinicola)
8 chestnut leaves
4 semi-salted soft lard slices, cut in half
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Wash the mushrooms and cut them in half. Use a knife to make little incisions in the stem and push in a piece of lard. Wrap each mushroom in a chestnut leaf and fix with toothpicks.

Transfer the mushrooms to a pot with a little water in it and cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve the mushrooms with their cooking juices.

Optional: Serve with a mushroom zabaglione.

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