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37, Promenade des AnglaisNice, France
+33 (0) 4 93 16 64 00
Virginie Basselot is one of the figures of the new generation of French gastronomy. Recognized as a Meilleur Ouvrier of France (Best Craftsman of France), she has already won many awards.
Since 2018, she has been at the helm of the Michelin-starred restaurant The Chantecler, The Rotonde, room service and banquets.Portrait.
To be a chef... but for who?
To be a meilleur ouvrier de France... but why?
To be a woman, a chef and a MOF... why not?
For Virginie Basselot, it’s all about the high standards that the challenges demand, and the courage to be free and emancipated through hard work. Virginie answers these three questions with self-confidence in her destiny.
For whom? To share with everyone.
Why? Because of the challenges.
Why not? Only one woman in France had received the ultimate award.
Virginie visits the producers on her Triumph, discovering the small mountain roads and those running along the coast. Trout from Cians, poultry from Pierlas, olive oil from Champsoleil, goat's cheese from Peymeinade - nowhere lies hidden for long from Virginie, even if it means taking the highways and byways to get there.
It is in the dishes served in her restaurant that you will find this liberté unfettered by codes and stereotypes. Look for no gods and masters with Virginie, just a handful of influential figures - to whom she's thankful, affectionate and friendly - such as Eric Frechon (she was his assistant for five years at Le Bristol), and her father, a cook in Pont-l'Évêque, and Jacques Maximin.
The foundation of Virginie's cuisine is to be found in the excellence of the products, meaning her cooking is free of dogma: if the Cancale oyster is the most plump and tender, it will be on the menu; if the Mostelle associated with raspberries inspires her, then the Mostelle will be invited to the feast.
Virginie offers you a challenging cuisine, with this elegance and mastery allowing her total freedom.
Like those bikers who give each other a tiny wave of the hand, don't be surprised if you bump into Virginie at your table for an affable gesture from one grateful being to another.
The collaboration of Virginie Basselot and the Negresco is reminiscent of another journey: that of the emblematic owner of the hotel, Jeanne Augier. A free-spirited, creative, and entrepreneurial woman, who, like our new chef, followed her heart’s desires in life without giving in to the pressures of “public opinion”. Madame Augier was capable of steering her ocean liner with its pink dome and Virginie Basselot successfully found her place in a very competitive field, in which she has followed her "gut feeling…the flow of destiny, like the meeting in 2018 with Mr. Bord, former Director of the Negresco, which won me over. That’s why I took the position".
Two parallel lives that intersect in the baroque decor, surrounded by paintings of masters, across from the Bay of Angels. In the history of the Palace, it's the first time that a woman has worn the chef's hat. A tall order, but which is at the height of her talent.
“ I was immediately captivated by the place. It is unique, just the way I like it, and full of history.
CULINARY TALENT RUNS IN THE FAMILY
Just like Obélix, that famous gourmand from Gaul, Virginie fell into the magic cauldron as a child; her father owned a restaurant in Pont-l’Evêque. She started her training quite young, through an apprenticeship back in her native Normandy.
At 19, she decided to head to Paris as an assistant in the kitchens of the Hôtel de Crillon. Although her beginnings were humble, nothing would stop her later from reaching the height of her art.
As the years went by, she honed her special style to create a cuisine that fits her personality: “classic, direct, and simple“
A CAREER FLAVORED BY EXCELLENCE
In 2003, as a sous-chef working for Eric Fréchon and Franck Leroy, at The Epicure restaurant in the Hôtel Bristol she contributed to the obtention of its third Michelin star. “This motivated me to compete for the prestigious and exclusive title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, which I didn’t get“, she admits.
Disappointed, but never defeated, she decided in 2012 to spread her wings and became Chef at the Saint-James. Her career choice led to a crowning achievement. A year and a half after taking the position, she earned a star in the Michelin Guide. “This was a great satisfaction and incredible recognition“, she recalls. This feat pushed her into trying once again to obtain the MOF in the Gastronomy class of 2015. She thus became the 2nd female chef to wear the tricolour collar (In 2007, Chef Andrée Rosier earned the title in this prestigious competition.).
She then left Paris for Geneva, to manage the kitchens of the Loti, the restaurant at the Réserve Hotel.
Gault-Millau recognized her undeniable talent and named her “Chef of the year, 2018″.
A constant desire to surpass herself is an excellent summary of her professional journey, but also her personal life. A passionate athlete, when she’s not behind the stove, she is diving, horseback riding, skydiving or motorcycling!
Virginie Basselot has made rigor her keyword, and sharing her passion is a genuine battle cry. With her recipes, above all, she wants to please her guests: “my passion is really cuisine and using food to achieve for every guest a true moment of happiness. I don’t want to unsettle guests, but to reassure them“, she declares. As MOF, she accepts that she has a certain responsibility as a “guardian of culinary heritage“.
A new adventure in Nice doesn't intimidate this young woman with an honest directness, but who describes herself as “reserved“. The proximity of the sea inspires her. “It’s not the same sea, but I was also born by the water. I love to prepare fish. I’m immersing myself in this region to build the menu, but I know that I’ll cook some of my signature dishes, like cod loin with lemon balm butter and bass and oyster tartare. Of course, I’ll change the name to reflect the local dialect. I’ll adapt to the region“, she jokes.
The menu will showcase fish, but vegetables too, “for a cuisine that is lighter than what I did in Switzerland, where there was a lot of cheese and Alpine-inspired dishes“. She finds “the South a magnificent region” and says she is enchanted by this experience in Nice, and intends to bring a breath of fresh air and novel style to the Promenade des Anglais.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE TEMPTED BY AN UNFORGETABLE CULINARY EXPERIENCE…
With its white and gold tones, La Rotonde is THE expression of the French Riviera, in a chic and relaxed version. This great brasserie is a true institution close to the heart of those who live in Nice.
Le Chantecler skillfully revisits the codes of gastronomy conferring to them grace and sincerity. It offers a talented tribute to products from the region.
OFFER Le CHANTECLER
With its sumptuous wordwork dating back to 1751, Le Chantecler offers an 18th-century decor which is both ethereal and sumptuous for exceptional dinners.
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