Spotlight on Chef Jean-Baptiste Lavergne-Morazzani, La Table du 11 – Versailles
SPOTLIGHT ON Chef Jean-Baptiste Lavergne-Morazzani, the young one star chef.
At the age of 23, Jean-Baptiste Lavergne-Morazzini was awarded his first Michelin star at la Table du 11. Three years later, we find him in his “gastro” since transferred to the prettily paved courtyard of la Cour des Senteurs in Versailles. More space, more comfort … you have to give yourself the means to achieve your objectives! Because the star gave wings to this young prodigy, also at the head of Bistrot du 11, a cellar and soon, a vegetable garden of 1000 m2 not far away.
You are very young (27 years old), how do manage all your projects?
This is a great adventure for me, to have earned a star at 23. In addition, the satisfaction of having opened a restaurant with my father; I have a great team. My sous-chef has been with us since the beginning and Gabriel Gras, my deputy chef, is now in charge of the bistro. It’s really important! I realize that things are happening very fast, but are heads are to the grindstone and perhaps I haven’t really taken it all in. It’s the look and word of my customers that send me back to this speed.
And you still have work in progress! …
Yes, after the star, we opened the bistro and today we still have many projects that really excite me, where the products are perfectly consistent with our cuisine and state of mind. In a few weeks we’ll open “la cave” right by “la table du 11” and soon an organic and permaculture vegetable garden at Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche in the Yvelines. … As long as everything is under control, I’m fine. I don’t want to go too fast either. Now, I’m looking to sit back on the business side, make them run well, evolve and see my teams grow with me.
Your business is primarily a father-son duo?
My father had a family restaurant in the region and then needed a change.
I’m the one who sought him out, as we’ve always gotten on well; he’s open minded enough not to block me with my projects, to let me make my own choices, but he supports them with me. We are quite a pair! I am someone who is keen because I’m still young; he is wiser because of his age. In three and a half years, we’ve done a lot of things and I’m delighted. There is nothing better than working with your family when things go well. My father brings me a lot of serenity. Today, I could not see myself working without him. As well, we divide the tasks: he looks after the administrative side, while I like to be out in the field, changing menus and focusing on other things.
Are you seeking a second star?
Yes! I was already very happy with the first. I had conditioned myself to work for three to four years before obtaining it, but the star arrived at the end of 11 months and we moved. Now, it will certainly take a little time before obtaining the second star, that’s normal. For the moment though, we are just trying to do our job properly without putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
What were the main constraints when moving the gastronomic restaurant?
The timing! We had to quickly sell the first site on rue Saint Honoré because I needed the funds to buy that of la Cours des Senteurs. And at the same time, we had to start work on it. Once the financial aspect was managed, it was necessary to take care of the staff who had not worked for a month and a half. And when things go on for too long, there’s no income, but there is a lot going out! I was also at the site most of the time. It’s a lot of work but it makes you grow.
What role should your suppliers play in your opinion?
I have always been surrounded by the right people at the openings. I need to have a privileged exchange with my suppliers. I can’t stand being a number and not having direct contact. I want there to be family type contact, otherwise I am unable to function. I don’t hesitate to call important people in a company to report a problem. I need to feel surrounded, supported for a new project or an opening… it’s encouraging and it proves someone believes in you! Matfer Bourgeat has always followed me. Madame Mora, with whom I have always gotten along, has helped us a lot. And she knows our work, because she’ll regularly come to the restaurant with her colleagues for example. There is really a wonderful exchange between Matfer Bourgeat and us, and I want it to continue this way!
How did Matfer get involved when you set up the bistro and the new gastro version?
Matfer was in contact with our architects and supported us on the entire custom stainless steel part, preparation, organization and structure of the kitchen. They have really got a professional eye. Of course we are used to it as we use the kitchen every day. But, there are things we do not think about or do not even know about technically.
To have multiplied the number of participants in this kind of project would have been a mistake, so I wanted to make sure that we worked together on the bistro and gastro. And as I was happy with the relationship I had created with Matfer, I didn’t see any reason to change.
Do you remember meeting the brand?
The first contact took place at a fair when I was still at Ferrandi. I have always known Matfer since I started cooking, especially in the Michelin-starred restaurants that I admire: Trianon Palace, le Meurice, Cobéa … so I automatically associate the brand with excellence. It’s a brand that’s well established, qualitative, and very professional and I have always chosen to work with Matfer since then.