The port town of Saint-Malo, in Brittany, ought to be famous in this country as the home port of Jacques Cartier, who claimed Canada for France. But the town was the origin of many more adventures, including those of the French East India Company, and so also the entry point to France of exotic spices and new flavours from across the globe. In gastronomic circles, Saint-Malo is now famous as the birthplace and home of chef Olivier Roellinger, who introduced eastern spices with fresh local seafood when he began to cook at his restaurant in the early 1980s at Les Maisons de Bricourt, nearby.
Roellinger rose through the gastronomic ranks over a 30-odd year career, eventually securing three coveted Michelin stars. Then, in 2008 he famously gave up his stars, explaining that an old injury in one of his legs meant that he could no longer spend long days and nights standing over a range. Les Maisons de Bricourt, however, are still very much a going concern, and the collection of hotel rooms and restaurants overlooking the Bay ofSaint-Michel has kept another vaunted distinction: it’s membership in the elite group of hotels and restaurants known as the Relais & Châteaux.
The Relais & Châteaux turns 60 years old this year, and members are holding parties and celebrations across the world. Close to home, Langdon Hall has invited Chef Roellinger to spend a weekend in the Ontario countryside, cooking with chef Jason Bangerter and celebrating the bond between Les Maisons de Bricourt and Langdon Hall through their Relais & Châteaux membership.
Mary Beaton and Bill Bennett opened Langdon Hall in 1989, and it only took them two years to achieve Relais & Châteaux membership in 1991. To this date, Langdon remains the only Relais & Château in Ontario, and one of a handful across Canada. Bill Bennett, who has sat on the Relais & Châteaux North American and Canadian boards, has long championed the organization and sought to bring top chefs like Roellinger for the benefit of his kitchen and, of course, his clientele.
Olivier Roellinger will be at Langdon Hall over the weekend of Friday, October 24, and the public is invited to join him and Chef Bangerter for a series of culinary events featuring his cuisine. The details, and special rates on rooms, are here. Watch for more coverage of Chef Roellinger’s visit at GFR.