French haute cuisine master Michel Bourdin plans to retire
at the end of the year after 26 years as mâitre chef of Mayfair’s Connaught
Bourdin, whose career spans 42 years, won a worldwide
reputation and a Michelin star for the hotel’s two restaurants.
He said the time was now right to spend more time with his
family at his new home in Provence, where he planns to write his memoirs.
“Of course I will miss the Connaught very much but I know I
am leaving it in safe hands,” added Bourdin, who joined the hotel in 1974 as
only its fifth French mâitre chef since it opened in 1897.
His successor will be the hotel’s premier sous chef Jerome
Ponchelle, who trained in classical French cooking in Rouen before joining the
Connaught in 1988.
Connaught general manager Duncan Palmer said Bourdin had
built a “tremendous reputation” for the hotel and had groomed a successor who
was “really attuned to what the Connaught is really about.”