LirÔlacMercotte writes a love letter to chefs in the region
As the third edition of the LirÔlac book festival approaches – the event will take place on September 30 and October 1 – we met with Mercotte, one of the two dozen authors present at the festival this year.
A cooking blogger from the very beginning, Mercotte earned a name for herself on the show Le Meilleur Pâtissier (The Best Pastry Chef), which she co-hosted with Cyril Lagnac. During the festival she present her latest book, La Savoie Gourmande de Mercotte, published in 2022.
Mercotte‘s zest for life is contagious. Now 81 years old, she is full of energy, as radiant as someone a quarter of her age, and always speaks her mind.
Without looking for it she found fame in her sixties, after started her blog La Cuisine de Mercotte (Mercotte’s Cooking), and became a well-known figure on the gourmet cooking scene. She does not take herself too seriously, thoroughly enjoys what she does, and has never really chased the limelight. The day we met with Mercotte a couple of very persuasive teens managed to use their charm to get a selfie with her.
Embark on an encounter with an out-of-this-world gourmet, a truly unique individual in the culinary and audiovisual world who never gets tired of talking about her passion for high-end cuisine.
© Lou Breton / Mercotte
Born in Aix-les-Bains, Mercotte spent decades traveling around the Savoie, meeting with chefs, local growers, and exceptional artisans who, over time, became some of her closest friends.
While she has written more than her fair share of cooking books, La Savoie Gourmande differs in format. More than a series of recipes, this book needs to be read. It includes testimonials and interviews with award-winning chefs, revealing their personalities, far from the typical pre-rehearsed platitudes. The book presents the local farmers and artisans who work with the chefs on a daily basis, and also offers a few choice recipes.
The idea for the book came from Marie Etchegoyan, photographer for Le Meilleur Pâtissier, who convinced her to embark on a new adventure, since Mercotte knows the aforementioned chefs, growers, and artisans better than anyone else.
© Mercotte / Mercotte and Laurent Petit
“We traveled together to meet the award-winning chefs along the alpine lakes in Savoie and Haute-Savoie as well as in mountain villages such as Megève, where I am the patron of the Toquicimes Festival, held this year from October 20 to 22, and in Courchevel. Focusing only on award-winning chefs may seem a bit divisive considering that the Savoie is overflowing with talented chefs. However, I stand by my choice. And are our award-winning chefs not the ideal ambassadors to showcase the rich culinary expertise in the area and tantalize our taste buds?”
Among the key figures in high-end cuisine in Annecy are Laurent Petit, Jean Sulpice, Yoann Conte, Florian Favario, Patrick Agnellet, and Philippe Rigollot, the latter two being pastry chefs.
The opportunity to learn more about each one of them, their backgrounds, their work, their passion, and the sacrifices each has made to reach where they are today.
Who better than Mercotte, their neighbor and friend, to invite them to sit down for a chat? She writes loud and clear about her love for the Savoie and Haute-Savoie, the beautiful landscapes, the power of the seasons, the quality of life, and the amazing 55 Michelin-starred chefs in the area, and we are more than proud to have her as an ambassador.
Come and meet Mercotte on October 1st, at the LirÔlac book festival during a roundtable discussion with Jean Sulpice and led by journalist Serge Delémontex.
© Mercotte / Mercotte and Jean Sulpice
And for loyal fans, you can watch her every Wednesday on M6 for the latest season of Le Meilleur Pâtissier. This year, the program includes lots of creativity, fun, and “sweet” challenges that include her usual bag of tricks.
LirÔlac, September 30 and October 1
Organized by the city of Talloires-Montmin, the low-key LirÔlac book festival provides a warm and friendly atmosphere to share a passion for books, and showcases the latest literary accomplishments in every form: novels, crime thrillers, essays, and youth literature.
The festival offers authors and readers the chance to meet and interact through conferences, book signings and readings, and fun youth workshops.
© Festival LirÔlac / LirÔlac 2023
- © Mercotte / Mercotte and Jean Sulpice
Journalist: Aude Pollet-Thiollier
Translation: Darin Reisman