For the past two years, Julien Gatillon – the young Michelin-starred chef of the Chalet du Mont d’Arbois – has been working with Sébastien Josse to develop and prepare vacuum-packed dishes for the Gitana Team’s fleet. It’s a bold challenge given the numerous and glaring differences between the minimalist galleys on the boats and the refinement of the stoves of the 1920 at the Chalet du Mont d’Arbois. In the most modern Gitanas, the galley amounts to a portable stove and a kettle to heat the water necessary to rehydrate the freeze-dried dishes, which form the bulk of the on-board meals in transatlantic races.
Indeed, though the dishes from the team at the 1920 will be on-board to tickle our sailors’ taste buds in the first few days of the race, the Edmond de Rothschild pairing will ultimately need to get by on some less tasty but more familiar dishes for this type of transatlantic race after a week at sea.
In the meantime though, veal in white sauce, lamb stew, lobsters, rice pudding and fruitcake are just some of the dishes that Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier will be able to enjoy as they get into the swing of things on the racetrack. Suffice to say that the exit from the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay is likely to be a gourmet delight aboard the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild.
3,000 to 4,000 calories a day
At sea, the sailors on Edmond de Rothschild consume between 3,000 and 4,000 calories a day, or double the average daily intake for an adult. This substantial nutrient intake compensates for the extreme physical effort exerted by these top-level athletes, as well as a multitude of energy-guzzling details such as the constant struggle to keep one’s balance whilst moving around the boat, the short and often poor quality of sleep and also the seasickness that can occur in the first few days. A vital necessity and a competitive factor, meals are also an opportunity to take a well-deserved break and have a few minutes to catch your breath: “When you’re racing, you don’t really have a proper rhythm to meals, but you do need to eat high-calorie food on a regular basis (carbohydrates and proteins essentially) to be able to cope with the physical effort required by the boat. It’s not always easy or even pleasant to eat, but it’s essential for performance. At that point, it’s more of a need. However, we’re lucky in that we have dishes like Julien’s aboard. In the last Route du Rhum, I discovered the pleasure and the positive aspect of being able to eat real flavours,” Sébastien Josse admits.
For the rest of the Transatlantic – the dishes from Mont d’Arbois only being on the menu in the first few days of the race due to conservation issues -, the majority of the meals are freeze-dried, and these powdered meals ‘come to life’ with hot water! However, nothing has been left to chance. Indeed, Virginie Auffret, the dietician who founded Nutri & Co, has been supervising the menus created by Sébastien and Charles to ensure there’s a good nutritional balance.
Among the small on-board pleasures, besides the fruitcake specially prepared by Mont d’Arbois, there are no frills other than a few sweets and dried fruit… Naturally weight and performance always take precedence!
Julien Gatillon, Michelin-starred chef of the 1920 at the Chalet du Mont d’Arbois
In the kitchens of the gastronomic restaurant Le Chalet du Mont d’Arbois 5*, the 1920, the ‘conductor’ goes by the name of Julien Gatillon. Aged 30, he was awarded his first star in the Michelin Guide in March 2014.
This young, enthusiastic man has held his post at the Mont d’Arbois gastronomic restaurant since 2012, but the dizzy heights of Megève make him feel likes he’s gone back to his beginnings. Indeed, it is in this very place that he started his career some years earlier as a trainee. However, before returning to the Savoyard village, Julien made sure he saw a bit of the world so as to continue with his apprenticeship and further hone his skills, a period which notably included a spell with two big names from the profession: Benoît Violier and Yannick Alléno, respectively in the Hôtel de Ville de Crissier (Switzerland) and Le Meurice (Paris), both awarded three medals by the Michelin guide.
From the first establishment, he maintains that he learned everything about his trade: plain cooking, precision of execution and a focus on the cult of the right product in season and simplicity of taste… The ABC of his culinary practice is rooted in the four years he spent in Switzerland, alongside this Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best French Artisan), who he willingly describes as his spiritual father. From the second establishment, he retains a taste for ‘minute’ cooking, the sleek design of the plate, as well as the inspiration for new products, which extend his creative palette. Today he places this savoir-faire at the service of Rothschild tradition, where the beauty of gesture marries with the cult of quality. It consists of a set of values, which he shares and expresses in traditional cuisine combining an exaltation of the season and great technical mastery.