Le Touquet-Paris-Plage – a seaside resort that celebrated its centenary in 2012 and was dubbed ‘The garden of the Channel’ during the Roaring Twenties – makes the ideal holiday destination just two hours from Paris, London and Brussels. For the last 20 years the local emcee is an endearing chef with a strong attachment to his region.
Built like a rugby man with a certain bonhomie, simplicity and enthusiasm about him, William Elliot has been head chef at the Westminster hotel since 1994. His English-sounding name, which actually blends in very well here, comes from his great-grandfather who came over from Canada during the First World War and never went home…
Born near Le Touquet (in Cucq) in 1964, William used to lend a hand at his uncle’s restaurant, the ‘Guillaume Tell’ in Mulhouse, during the holidays. He used to love the atmosphere in the kitchens and at age 16, decided to become a chef. He became an apprentice at his uncle’s restaurant before working in Paris (from 1985 to 1988) at restaurants Le Dôme and L’Ambroisie with Bernard Pacaud. He then moved to the Royal in Deauville where he stayed until 1991 before arriving at the Westminster where he became head chef in 1994, age 26. He became a Michelin-starred chef in the 2007 guide and won the Guide Champérard ‘2009 Chef of the Year’ trophy for the Nord-Pas de Calais region. “The simplicity of good food is all about showing respect for the taste and quality of the ingredients”. Such is William Elliot’s philosophy and he gives local produce pride of place: ratte du Touquet potatoes, cauliflower, soft goats cheeses (Montreuil), red fruits from Samer (in the Boulonnais area) and seafoods (Audresselles lobster, small boat turbot, bass…). He also works with local market gardeners to create vegetarian dishes.
Westminster Hôtel & Spa
Avenue du Verger 62520 Le Touquet Paris-Plage
Tel. : 03 21 05 48 48
Duck liver, Gillardeau oyster and miso
Ingredients for 4
4 fine foie gras escalopes weighing around 130g each – 4 Gillardeau oysters – 1 packet Shimeji mushrooms – 15cl veal stock – 10g ginger – 10g lemongrass – 1 tsp miso
Infuse the ginger and lemongrass in the warmed veal stock.
Open the oyster and set aside in the refrigerator.
Fry the foie gras on both sides. Bake in the oven at 150°C for 5 minutes.
Chop a few Shimeji mushrooms (7-8 per person).
Griddle the oysters then add the miso in the veal stock.
Place the oyster on the foie gras in the centre of the plate. Put some Shimeji mushrooms around the foie gras and pour the stock over the foie gras.
Dry yet rich white wines are an obvious choice. Choose preferably a Burgundy Chablis that always sits well alongside seafoods. Sauvignon wines will also provide full enjoyment with their aromatic purity, particularly well-made Sancerre like this remarkable offering from Domaine Natter.