Ever wondered how a hotel creates the delicious food enjoyed by guests? We asked Chef Fabrice Lasnon, Executive Chef at La Mamounia in Marrakesh, Morocco, that very question.
Few places in the world offer such a dizzying array of food inspired by so many countries. Chef Fabrice spotlights the diversity of cuisine and spices in this ancient crossroads of Marrakesh and Northern Africa.
Inspiration comes from many countries, as Chef Fabrice routinely purchases ingredients from Spain, France and Italy. For example, he uses four different lemons for four different seasons. Limes might come from France and Spain.
Wandering through the markets of Marrakesh is exciting and will inspire anyone who loves to cook or savor great food.
Executive Chef Fabrice was kind enough to take my 12 year old “Blue Bakers” and me on an underground “Inside the Kitchen” tour of the fabulous hotel La Mamounia, while we were in Marrakesh this summer. The state of the art kitchen more closely resembles an underground city than a hotel kitchen!
Here, Chef Fabrice insists that everything is made from scratch – from stocks and pastas to desserts more closely resembling artwork than actual food. It was a treat for us.
The source of foods is staggering. Meats include local and imported veal, 100 large branches of fresh mint a day and, with the exception of oysters, seafood from the Moroccan coast. Morocco is geographically situated to take advantage of a wide array of cultural influences. La Mamounia’s kitchens just might be the ultimate chef’s dream kitchen.
We hopped on a golf cart to see Chef Fabrice’s pride and joy – his organic garden. Vegetables, herbs and so many variations of each. Chef’s team squeezes an average of 300 kilos of fresh oranges a day. Nothing quite like having an orchard hundreds of years old on the hotel grounds!
There’s a separate preparation area for nearly every type of food, from butchering and seafood preparation to creating chocolate candies and countless kinds of breads that proof throughout the night. Two different rooms for flours separate the actual preparation rooms where breads are formed and pastries are created and finished. Afterall, no one wants flour flying all over a room!
Chef supervises all food preparation at the hotel, including separate kitchens for three amazing restaurants. Le Francais restaurant, shown above, is elegant and shows off the culinary talents of Chef Jean Pierre Vigato. The room is luxurious and warm, with soft candlelight and beautiful flowers.
L’Italien restaurant, showcasing the talents of Chef Dan Alfonso, is delightful for evening dining, as well as casual outdoor dining for lunch shown above. The interior of the restaurant at night is sophisticated and pristine with white tablecloths. Even the simplest pastas take on an elegant twist in this setting.
Le Marocain restaurant features the fabulous culinary delights that spotlight traditional Moroccan cuisine. Located in a Riad in the heart of the gardens, Marocain is opulent beyond description in its traditional surroundings. Chef Rachid Agouray blends the best of current and traditional cuisine.
Chef Fabrice’s passion about every detail related to food preparation and presentation is contagious. He and his team embody the heart and soul of exotic Morocco at La Mamounia and makes guests want to return again and again.
As La Mamounia’s architect, Jacques Garcia, so aptly observes, “La Mamounia provides an experience so unique, it becomes an integral part of the myth that defines it.”
Make La Mamounia, one of the greatest hotels in the world, your next dream destination!
Chef Fabrice is a native of Normandy and loves a challenge. Because of easy access to so many food sources, Chef takes advantage of transforming food items from France, Italy, Africa, Malaysia, Turkey and throughout Morocco in the hotel’s many restaurants.
Chef’s creativity and originality is reflected in his use of contrasting colors, flavors and textures. He describes his cooking as “healthy, light and moving, French with Eurasian influence.”
Chef Fabrice honors local culinary traditions with new approaches to texture and ideas. He and his team, whom he always credits, creates an extraordinary culinary experience for guests at La Mamounia. Come and see for yourself!
- The Gourmet Review