Bernard Magrez has announced that Pierre Gagnaire is to be the new chef at his La Grande Maison restaurant in Bordeaux, just weeks after announcing the departure of Joël Robuchon.

In a press release at the time of Robuchon’s departure, Bernard Magrez cited the difficulty of maintaining a Michelin-starred restaurant in a city the size of Bordeaux.

But, he seems to have had a change of heart, as Pierre Gagnaire was voted ‘best chef in the world’ in 2015 through a poll organised by Le Chef magazine that polled 500 two and three starred Michelin chefs worldwide.

Gagnaire has his own eponymous restaurant in rue Balzac, Paris; with three Michelin stars, and is also head chef at the two-Michelin starred Sketch in London. He oversees 13 restaurants worldwide including ones in Las Vegas, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Dubai, and is well known in France for his appearances on the country’s version of Master Chef.

‘I didn’t hesitate when Bernard Magrez asked me to join him,’ Gagnaire told local journalists upon his appointment. ‘I sense the energy and dynamism in Bordeaux.’

Gagnaire also stressed that he would not necessarily be looking for culinary awards. ‘I want to adapt my cooking to the flavours of the region and to find a value for money that works for the local audience. All restaurants evolve and it can take time to find the right path’.

La Grande Maison is located opposite the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute in downtown Bordeaux and is housed in a former private residence that was refurbished by Cécile Daquin, Magrez’s daughter and the hotel’s director.

The restaurant will be closed until 24 June to re-work the menu. Jean-Denis Le Bras, who has worked with Gagnaire at his two-star restaurant in Hong Kong, will be the chef overseeing La Grande Maison full-time.

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