National Chef of the Year 2013: Hayden Groves - The Kings of Lyon – Part two

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th July 2014

This is the latest in a series of regular blogs by executive chef of BaxterStorey and winner of the National Chef of the Year 2013, Hayden Groves - The Kings of Lyon – Part two.

Those of you who have met me or even read previous pieces of mine, know all too well about my love for a challenge of any kind. However my suggestion of walking up the steep hill through the vineyards to La Chappelle wasn't greeted with much interest from the group; a short drive through the back roads was the favoured option.

Shortly after we were tasting and learning about some more fantastic local wines whilstIMG_2999 taking in the beautiful vista of the Rhone valley from the steps of the tiny chapel. After a quick change we ate in the middle of the vineyards at restaurant ‘Umia’.

>>> Read National Chef of the Year: Hayden Groves - The Kings of Lyon – Part one

Following the meal I experienced another first; I was asked to write on the restaurant wall with a black marker alongside three-star names such as Paul Bocuse and Regis Marcon! Should I keep the pen I thought? Surely Regis and Jacque would appreciate a bit of restaurant graffiti; maybe I could be the first to sign. The following day we had a tour of the Revol factory; he pride they have of their production and heritage was all clear for the group to witness.

The tradition as per the previous thee years was that the winning chef cooked a light lunch for the group. The emphasis was on light as that evening a five-hour three-star experience was promised. So stepping in the footsteps again of Rishi, Freddie and Alyn, I prepared a simple chicken salad of poached breast and crispy thigh with white asparagus and 

grilled lettuce. After a leisurely lunch it was back into the van for a 90-minute drive to St Bonnet le Froid through some beautiful Auvergne scenery. I’d wished I had my bike as there was a nice climb up to 1100m, well I did say I love a challenge! That evening, shaved, showered and suited we took a short mile drive up to Régis & Jacques Marcon. Even as you arrive at the restaurant it epitomises excellence, a covered car parking area with automatic doors, well they wouldn’t want their guests to get ‘Le Froid’ in the 50m walk to the reception, would they?

IMG_3028Once inside we were directed to the lounge and a magnum of champagne was poured. What followed was a procession of canapés for about an hour - a master class in miniature with some hanging from mini trees others on bespoke plates and spoons.
 
The table was set and we were offered to sit. The menu had previously been decided by Bruno you expect great food; that is a pre requisite of a three-star restaurant. It was a beautifully set up kitchen where all the chefs work the same service so that’s the consistency element ticked also.

The breathtaking view over the Auvergne no doubt added to the experience. It was some of the simple touches - the food, even though the cuissance was correct, was served remarkably hot, often when serving a table of ten with so many elements sometimes this suffers, but not here. The acclaim the restaurant has is well deserved and has certainly left a lasting memory for me. An experience fit for a king of Lyon no less. and Regis. So it began… beautiful plates arrived of faultless cuisine interspersed by an almost relaxed style of service. Some of the highlights were the Artic Char, frog legs, turbot and a study of local lamb. A composite Auvergne cheese course, a pre dessert using orange and Puy lentils. Several smaller deserts, before yes you guessed it the main desert! The challenge loving Groves was hitting the wall and we hadn’t even had the petit fours!

Hayden GrovesHayden Groves-FI

Hayden Groves is the current Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year, having won last year’s competition at the Restaurant Show in October. He is the executive chef at contract caterers BaxterStorey
previously having worked as the executive chef for Lloyds of London. Hayden Groves joins a long line of great chefs to have won the prestigious award including Gordon Ramsay, 
David Everitt-MatthiasSimon HulstoneMark SargeantSteve LoveAlyn Williams and many more. You can follow Hayden on Twitter @Hayden1974

>>> Read more National Chef of the Year  blogs here 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th July 2014

National Chef of the Year 2013: Hayden Groves - The Kings of Lyon – Part two