To be born somewhere...
Behind his dark glasses, there’s the mischievous young boy who ate raspberries out of his grandfather's hat at the end of the school day, the young man who looked after the animals and salted the hams.
Under his hat, there’s a big-hearted local who stands with his arms open wide.
When he comes across hikers, he welcomes them for an impromptu visit of La Maison des Bois, where he’s thrilled to invite friends from the local village for a drink. That’s just how Marc Veyrat is: incredibly spontaneous and delightfully good-natured. Because Marc isn’t just a chef: he’s a neighbour, a friend and a teacher who takes a child-like pleasure in sharing his love for botany with youngsters. Laurent Gerra describes him as “a friend with a capital F”, while Jacques Weber praises him for having “a heart as big as the mountains”.
He is a farmer's son who knows that a tree needs roots to be able to flourish, who consequently has his feet firmly on the ground and who is as candid, open and honest as all the locals are here.
Marc Veyrat is a master chef who has been awarded 20 out of 20 twice by Gault & Millau; he has drawn on his family history to create his culinary identity and has built La Maison des Bois using his forefathers’ cultural heritage.
This self-taught rustic chef has turned his unwavering respect for the land and rural living into something truly unique: opening up gourmet dining to the mineral qualities of nature and to healthy eating, putting the great outdoors on plates because, in the end, nature has everything we need. For this man who cooks from the heart, inspired by his memories, to be born somewhere is no coincidence: it’s an identity.
“I had the best training:
growing up in the countryside”
“Smelling, sniffing, admiring, marvelling at every step”
Nature and its rich pickings
As a chef, nature is in Marc Veyrat’s DNA. At the end of spring, when the mountain snow melts in Manigod, there’s an explosion of extraordinary scents. A stunning symphony of wild plants including hogweed, wild thyme, goosefoot, caraway and meadowsweet create a unique aromatic palette.
From alpine slopes to the plate, not forgetting the botanical garden where ingredients are expertly picked, the chef invites you to discover the bountiful tastes and scents of nature. (link to the “rich pickings” special offer)
The food conservatory
Carved out of rock for protection from the region’s harsh winters, the philosophy behind the food conservatory dates back to an earlier way of life in rural France: storing ingredients in the cellars so as to be able to enjoy healthy food all year round. Designed to offer an educational experience, it’s a treasure trove, a memorial to bygone traditions and a vital opportunity for younger generations to learn from the past.
Here, jars of organic fruit and vegetables, harvested in our gardens, form a delicious patchwork, while the ponds, filled with spring water, are home to trout, Arctic char and crayfish from Lake Geneva.
On the racks, seasonal vegetables await their turn; in the ageing cellar, cheese becomes beautifully runny. Long-lasting loaves of einkorn bread sit by the oven, in a box filled with bran, while delicious hams dry out in the smoking room.
Although we’ve inherited decades of expertise, we also have a duty which is fulfilled by the food conservatory: a duty to teach future generations about the importance of eating food which is good for mankind and good for the planet. Living naturally to live better.
“My father taught me all about the art of conserving”