Cooking has been a passion that has fueled the Carrier family for one hundred and twenty years! Already, during the time of the Hotel de la Pension du Chemin de fer, opened in 1903 by Joseph Carrier and his wife Lydie, the talents of this 'Lyonnaise mother' were renowned. An exceptional cook, she delighted gourmets with her simmered dishes that honored 'good French cuisine''...
Since September 2018, succeeding chefs Pierre Carrier and Pierre Maillet, of whom he was the sous chef for four years, Damien Leveau has been the head chef at the Michelin-starred restaurant Albert 1er.
The son of a grain farmer, raised in the culture of fine dining, Damien Leveau hails from Chartres and has had a true calling for cooking since childhood. Self-taught, both instinctive and perfectionist, he fits into the identity of the house, sharing the same philosophy while bringing his own personal touch and sensitivity with talent."
Curious, eager to learn, explore, and invent, he nurtures his creativity through the seasons of foraging, fishing, and hunting. "I strive for simplicity to not mask the product with too much complexity. I seek out its identity and build my dish around it. For this, I choose high-quality seasonal ingredients. I particularly enjoy offering our customers two different plates served at the same time – one hot, the other cold, for example – to highlight the creativity and diversity of preparations that a beautiful product can offer," the chef reveals. He places paramount importance on perfect cooking to enhance flavors.
Inspiration often arises from a visit to the garden but also from conversations with carefully selected local producers to obtain the best products. There is no "signature dish" for this free spirit, a devotee of spontaneity and constant renewal, who prioritizes seasonality as the main guiding principle, remaining faithful to a long-standing tradition at the table of Albert 1er.
With his pastry chef, Valentin Garnier, whose bold spirit he encourages, a true complicity has developed. "He understands how I operate. He has this desire to try combinations that, on paper, may seem absurd, but with work and talent, result in astonishing balance. When I talk about questioning things, he is constantly in that dynamic. He amazed me with a pairing of chocolate and black truffle, or even parsley and chocolate!"