Emmanuel Pilon

The art of natural cooking

Since June, Emmanuel Pilon has been working his magic with the rich ingredients of the Mediterranean as head chef of Monaco’s gourmet restaurant, Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse. We talk to the chef known for his vibrant, creative cuisine.

Alain Ducasse surrounded by the outstanding team of the Louis XV, Claire Sonnet (Directrice de salle) Maxime Pastor (Chef Sommelier) Emmanuel Pilon (Chef du Louis XV) Sandro Micheli (Chef Pâtissier).

Emmanuel Pilon is very familiar with Riviera cuisine, and adds his creativity, rigour and sensitive touch. His experience in the art of natural cooking will enrich the Mediterranean cuisine of the Louis XV,” says Alain Ducasse. After training in Lyon under two Meilleurs Ouvriers de France award-winning chefs, Pilon joined Maison Ducasse at the Louis XV very early on, in 2009, alongside Franck Cerutti and Dominique Lory. He then worked with Romain Meder as sous-chef for eight years, gaining a wealth of knowledge in natural cooking at the Alain Ducasse restaurant in the Plaza Athénée.

Le Louis XV. Monte Carlo

A new dynamic
Emmanuel Pilon is now back in the Principality:  “It’s a great honour to return to Monaco and orchestrate the kitchen of the Louis XV. Alain Ducasse has placed all his trust in me and lets me cook my own way. We talk a lot, and he tastes my dishes. He has one of the finest palates in the world, and is an excellent coach who always pushes me to go further.” The new chef of the Monegasque institution brings his own personality and vibrant modern style to the table, with a dash of humility: “The main thing is to respect the DNA of the Louis XV and its Mediterranean cuisine, to use the ingredients we are lucky enough to have around us, and to mix in my own experience and character so as to create a new dynamic.” What about the natural cooking ethos? For Emmanuel Pilon it’s a philosophy and a way of thinking, and above all, a way of acting on a daily basis by following the rhythm of the seasons and supporting sustainable fishing. There’s no question of throwing food away or wasting it. All ingredients, even the simplest and least refined, have a place in a three-starred restaurant: “Refinement comes from the way we work with them,” he explains. It’s about having the know-how to respect the identity of the ingredients sourced, without diminishing their natural properties, all the while enhancing them through cooking techniques or subtle condiments.

Fire roasted blue lobster. © Maki Manoukian

A chef who listens
Emmanuel Pilon also describes himself as down-to-earth and approachable. He works closely with his team, creating an atmosphere of fun and mutual support: “I like simple things and human interactions. Helping to develop good relationships between the team and producers, and creating trust, is key.” Pilon is open-minded and very curious, and listens to his team’s suggestions: “Without them, I’m nothing.” He is always in search of something new, and loves challenges such as working with unusual or unknown ingredients to produce interesting gourmet dishes. “If you take pleasure in creating and cooking, you pass on that sense of pleasure to your customers. Gastronomy should not be boring – quite the opposite, it should be playful, constantly evolving, interactive and always extremely precise.” It’s essential to offer a complete experience! “Whether you come to the Louis XV to celebrate a special event or

Coastal red mullet in his natural form. © Maki Manoukian

whether you’re a regular, everything must be perfect, down to the tiniest detail, and remain etched in your culinary memory bank.” Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse is entering a new era, then, one of contemporary French haute cuisine, marvellously supported by front of house staff who excel in the art of service. 

By Lionel Leoty