Having counseled some of the largest companies and hospitality groups in the world like Hyatt, Accor, Swissair, Mövenpick, and over 50 Michelin Starred restaurants across Europe and Asia, René Marre is one of F&B’s leading international authorities. A total food and wine devotee, he’s penned numerous books, 200 plus articles for major magazines, and has been the Consultant Advisor for countless Gastronomic Guides We had the chance to chat with Monsieur Marre about his illustrious career in the Culinary Arts, and have him share some astute advice with our readers.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where were you educated? Who inspired you to pursue a career in Gastronomy?
I am the proud son of a great French Chef, and she was undoubtedly my greatest inspiration. My passion for the Culinary Arts led me to exit an Executive position in Finance in order to devote myself full time to my craft. I studied at the Lenôtre Culinary Arts School near Paris, and then honed my craft under the tutelage of seven Michelin Chefs including Paul Bocuse, Paul Haeberlin, André Pic, Bernard Loiseau and Joel Roubuchon. Chef Jean Ducloux taught me about the Cuisine specific to Lyon, Chef André Daguin about poultry. To say I was blessed to learn from some of the greatest culinary minds on the planet is an understatement. Today my job is to help Companies to appear in guides, and also to propose restaurant projects to investors.
You are known as one of the leading worldwide experts in Gastronomy. In your opinion, what are the key ingredients necessary to produce sublime food?
The key ingredients are good fresh products and a keen know how for preparation. Gastronomy encompasses good dishes eaten on the street, in a bar, or at a reputed restaurant. In Paris, I enjoy a crispy bread sandwich with Brie de Meaux cheese, Tapas served at a bar counter in San Sebastian, a delicious Vietnamese Pho from a street vendor in Hanoi or a fine dining experience at L’Atelier Robuchon in Hong Kong. All that’s important is that the food is perfect… where it comes from really doesn’t matter.
You were the Culinary Counselor of New Viet Gastronomy. Would you please describe your role at this Vietnam based food event?
It was very interesting to see a huge company like New Viet Dairy so committed to selecting excellent products to feature at the event. Vietnam has a renowned gastronomic culture, and has adopted western eating habits, especially since its dramatic rise in tourism. During my time with them, I was especially impressed by Franco-Vietnamese Chef David Thai, who knew how to create intelligent compromises and both explain and demonstrate food preparation. We were together many times, and I believe we did a good job contributing to New Viet Gastronomy, a highly social and dynamic food event.
What are some of the challenges a new restaurateur may face in today’s competitive marketplace. What’s essential for success?
Without a doubt, they must execute well planned, thoughtful and honest marketing strategies which will help drive the restaurant’s brand DNA directly to the consumer. They also must know how to create a good and harmonious team. Employee changeovers should be minimized, and/or avoided whenever possible, as regular turnover can poorly affect a restaurant’s balance.
What advice would you give to an aspiring Chef or Sommelier?
For a Chef: Be yourself, find your unique voice in the kitchen, pick good fresh products to work with, and respect the people working alongside you. For a Sommelier: Always remember, there are wines to drink while eating and others that are not meant to pair with food. It’s essential that you learn the difference.