Once a year, owners, maître d’s and chefs of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux association gather in a unique destination around the world. This year, the International Congress was held in Turin, Italy from Nov. 4-6. Welcoming 36 new members — ranging from Ol Donyo Lodge, a bush camp in Kenya, to Menton, a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant in Boston — the 38th annual conference was certainly one to celebrate. The exclusive event is only open to owners, general managers and recognized Grand Chefs but our editors have the lowdown.
Each year, the International Congress revolves around a central theme and this year’s was “Shared Emotions.” From a gala dinner at the Venaria Reale served by 15 Italian chefs to a meeting with the 2013 Ambassador Salvatore Ferragamo, the members were immersed in the epitome of Italian culture and gastronomy. This year’s ambassador is the grandson of the famous shoemaker and his newly opened Tuscan resort, Il Borro, is one of the newest Relais & Châteaux members.
The hospitality association recognized 12 new Grand Chefs this year. In the culinary world of Relais & Châteaux, this is the highest ranking you can receive. The prestigious title belongs to a small group made up of top-notch chefs such as Patrick O’Connell of Five-Star The Inn at Little Washington, Thomas Keller of Five-Star The French Laundry and Five-Star Per Se, Daniel Boulud of Five-Star Daniel, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Five-Star Jean Georges. Joining the group this year are Barbara Lynch of the aforementioned Menton, Claude Bosi of London’s Hibiscus and Shinichi Sato of Passage 53 in Paris. Nine of the 12 new Grand Chefs are new to the association, while the other three were promoted to Grand Chef status.
Photo Courtesy of Dario Egidi