01.21La Mamounia “Inside the Kitchen” | A Moroccan Culinary Tour

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

NOTE

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

08.28La Mamounia Hotel | Arabian Nights in Marrakech, Morocco

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          “An eternal palace. Once upon a time, there was a place called

La Mamounia . . .  as in a tale from long ago.”

                                                                                        Jacques Garcia, architect 

Marrakech. Exotic. Alluring. Fanciful. Majestic desert encounters, the not to be missed camel ride, Berber villages and settings worthy of the Arabian Nights.

Rich heritage is embodied at La Mamounia, one of the world’s most palatial and majestic hotels. The history and traditions of great artisanship are apparent at every turn. Upon entering the lobby, a sense of peaceful serenity enfolds the guest as traditional and modern artistry blend into one.

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After a daytime visit to the Mecca, guests may wish to relax by the luxurious pool. Mornings are spent table side by the pool savoring Executive Chef Fabrice Lasnon’s spectacular breakfast buffets. Foods reflect not only Moroccn cuisine, but French, Italian and Spanish as well.

Relax after a long day of sightseeing. Enjoy binge pampered in the opulence of the spa.

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With breathtaking beauty, guests slow down to admire intricate stained glass, ornate wooden latticework, sculpted plaster walls embellished with straw, fountains, hand carved copper lanterns, and thick wool carpets. Over one thousand artisans worked for three years on the exquisite renovation. Pictured above is an Andalusion patio, an elongated hall with lateral alcoves and reflective pools.

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Pictured above is our hallway, rich in intricate detail. The chiaroscuro of light and dark plays out as guests return to their rooms. The eye cannot stop taking in the visual plethora of ornate, exquisite artisanship .

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Water plays an important role throughout La Mamounia, whether for reflection or  fun. Note the intricate detail of  wooden ceilings and lanterns, providing ambient, serene light. Or think of yourself as a princess and climb onto the raised cushion lounge above the water to experience serenity, relaxation and renewal. Even the pillows on the raised lounge beckon.

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 “When you have a palm grove and an olive grove that are more than one

thousand years old, you show them off.”

                                                                                                Jacques Garcia, architect

The gardens are sumptuous and include 20 lush acres of bougainvillea, delphinium, fragrant jasmine, orange trees, roses and palm trees, on grounds once reserved for royal festivities. Pictured above is a small LeMenzeh, along one of the garden walkways, where guests can enjoy a fresh lemonade, a selection of homemade ice creams and chocolate candies. Guests play a game of tennis,  stop to play bocce ball or  listen to birds singing while strolling through the grounds.

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La Mamounia sits on 20 lush acres of exquisitely landscaped grounds. Views of the Atlas Mountains and the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech,  provide an almost cinematographic panoramic view. The surroundings are surpassed only by the extraordinary service of the exceptional staff.

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Savor the day.  .  .  La Mamounia will win your heart and forever!

NOTE

Jacques Garcia is the architect who orchestrated the meticulous renovation of La Mamounia before it reopened in 2009. No wonder La Mamounia has received top industry awards too numerous to mention. I will include just a few below.

Meilleur Hôtel pour le Service 2011 Condé Nast Traveller Gold List | Best Hotel for Service 2011
Meilleur Hôtel Spa dans le Monde 2011 Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Spa Awards Best Hotel Spa in the World 2011
Hôtel de l’Année 2010 | Tatler Travel Guide  | Hotel of the Year 2010
Meilleur Resort 2010 Travel and Leisure Design Awards Best Resort 2010
Meilleur Nouveau Spa International 2010 et 2011| American Spa Magazine  Best New International Spa 2010

My husband and I were fortunate to take our 12-year-old granddaughter, “The Blue Baker,” on this unforgettable adventure. We want to thank everyone at La Mamounia, especially Directeur General Didier Picquot and Executive Chef Fabrice Lasnon, for extending such impeccable hospitality and service. My Blue Baker especially loved Chef Fabrice’s kitchen tour and pastry decorating lesson!

– The Gourmet Review

  
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