Christopher Hache, as a starred chef at the restaurant of a legendary luxury Paris hotel, cultivates the art of hospitality down to the last detail. Accompanied by major tableware
manufacturers, he makes sure that each table at the Hôtel de Crillon provides a unique experience.
How would you define the French art of living, of which Hôtel de Crillon is an ambassador?
Christopher Hache, as a starred chef at the restaurant of a legendary luxury Paris hotel, cultivates the art of hospitality down to the last detail. Accompanied by major tableware manufacturers, he makes sure that each table at the Hôtel de Crillon provides a unique experience.
The art of living comprises a set of components: know-how, tradition and the art of hospitality.
At Hôtel de Crillon, excellence is also an essential ingredient. When we designed the new gourmet restaurant, “L’Ecrin”, the art of living was our focal point. We wanted to offer guests
a unique experience.
It is especially important to us because we receive guests who travel a lot and are very demanding about those little details that make up luxury and the elegance expected in such
an establishment. We have a duty to highlight historical know-how and the prestige of major French manufacturers.
While the Hôtel de Crillon was closed, you did a gourmet world tour.
What openings did this bring you?
I used to be very concentrated on my cooking, plating and philosophy but less so on tableware.
During this world tour, I met with other chefs who made me realise the importance of service and tableware. This time off opened my mind, making me more daring, willing to break with established codes while upholding elegance and tradition.
Were you given free rein to choose the artisans and suppliers? Did you work in partnership with the interior designers?
The success of this project also lies in the very strong connection between interior design and tableware. Aline Asmar d’Amman, in charge of ensuring the harmony of the decoration project, and one of four interior designers, Chahan Minassian - in charge of decorating L’Ecrin – completely involved us in the project. I presented all the major establishments , we worked on sketches together and this allowed us to go into minute detail and create exceptional pieces.
I really wanted every element on the table to be customised and unique. For that, we opted for bespoke solutions through different glassware, china and crockery productions. We put our trust in houses such as Bernardaud, Haviland, Christofle, Ercuis, etc.
Should tableware at a starred restaurant like “L’Ecrin” stand out or be the backdrop to your daring gourmet exploits?
It’s a subtle balance. With the complicity of Claire Sonnet, the director of the restaurant, and Xavier Thuizat, the head sommelier, we love to offer our guests a unique gourmet experience in a harmonious symphony. Tableware is the musical score that makes our dishes sublime.
For L’Ecrin, I was looking for someone with whom I could discuss and build something over time. I really fell in love with the work of ceramist Virginie Boudsocq. For my “signature dish” which is the Champignon de Paris (button mushroom), I asked her to imagine a china dish that reproduces the inside of a mushroom. It takes her hours to make one single piece. It’s a lot of work and each piece is different, making it unique. After the mushroom plate, we worked on a bread basket. Bread conveys the real value of sharing in the art of hospitality. I make a bread loaf that is pre-cut and the guests help themselves. It took us several trial runs before we obtained these magnificent china baskets and the matching bread plate! In the end, we managed to represent the fermentation of leaven and its bubbles.
We have already started to think about other series to be produced exclusively for the Hôtel de Crillon. At the end of each meal, I meet guests and it’s a real pleasure to hear praise for the food but, above and beyond that, our guests also love the whole range of attentions that make up the French art of hospitality.