Born and raised in the Aveyron region of France, Cyril Lignac has always enjoyed the pleasure of a large table full of friends and family. « For me, cooking has always been about making people happy ». So it is only natural that the chef started cooking. One year at Christmas he received a small allowance and he immediately spent the money on a gourmet meal at the finest restaurant in the area, the Belcastel. A real turning point for the chef who was more accustomed to traditional quiche « Lorraine » and « poulet chasseur » taught at school. The next morning, he spontaneously showed up at the Belcastel and asked the chef Nicole Fagegaltier if he could be her apprentice. He spent 27 months learning the ins and outs of gourmet cuisine while simultaneously obtaining his diplomas in ice-cream making, pastry and chocolate and, of course, cooking.
A NEW CENTURY FOR A NEW LIFE
Fresh out of school with certificates as a newly qualified dessert, pastry and chocolate junior chef, the young Cyril Lignac moved up to Paris and began working in the kitchens of Alain Passard. The 3-star chef at the Arpège, then considered to be one of the finest roast meat chefs in the country, quit meat and devoted himself to vegetables. Cyril Lignac has never forgotten this love for fine seasonal produce and the high-precision techniques involved. Then, out of love for Mediterranean cooking, he joined the Pourcel brothers at the Maison Blanche. This was followed by experiences with Pierre Hermé and then at the Grande Cascade.
GRANDE CUISINE AND SMALL SCREEN
In 2005, the chef was approached by M6 TV for a new cookery programme and decided to sign up for this new experience, which was to prove so very successful. It also resulted in his first restaurant, Le Quinzième, which won its 1st star rating in March 2012.
A BORN BUSINESSMAN
But this entrepreneurial chef did not stop there. With a passion for traditional bistro cuisine, Cyril Lignac took over an establishment of the 11th arrondissement: Le Chardenoux.
This was followed by Aux Prés and Le Bar des Prés, five pâtisseries and two chocolateries in Paris. These were all opportunities for Cyril to extend his range of gourmet pleasures and further develop his team.
The CV of the woman Cyril Lignac usually introduces as his “right-arm lady, and left arm, too…” makes for impressive reading. A graduate from the Ecole Hôtelière Sainte Anne in Saint Nazaire, she started out in the kitchens of the 3-star La Côte Saint Jacques restaurant in Joigny. She left Jean-Michel Lorrain’s team in 2004 to join Anne-Sophie Pic, who was also eagerly working for her 3rd “Macaron” rating. Five years spent with this heir to the Maison Pic further enhanced her taste for exacting standards in everyday cooking.
She spent a short spell with the celebrated Tour d’Argent before joining the Cyril Lignac group.
An equally impressive track record for this unrivalled pastry chef, who learned his trade at the toughest of all schools, the Maison Lenôtre. A pastry chef at the Pré Catelan with Frédéric Anton and winner of the coveted Meilleur Ouvrier de France medal in 2005, he also picked up the prestigious title of Pastry Chef world champion and Pastry Chef of the Year in 2008, awarded by Le Chef magazine.
When joining Anne-Sophoe Pic’s team, he got to know Aude Rambour. Although having opened a pastry shop in the town of Annecy, Pilippe Rigollot also works closely with Cyril Lignac and Aude Rambour in preparing the Desserts Menu at Le Quinzième.