When it comes to service and UHNWIs, the expectation is high. This is why for Monaco residents the emblematic Four Seasons George V in Paris is the go-to getaway that provides all the luxuries of home.
Steps from the Champs-Elysée, it is no surprise the 244-room Art Deco landmark was named the 2019 Hotel of the Year by the global luxury travel Virtuoso network. Built in 1928, the hotel-cum art museum boasts an exceptional spa palace decorated by Pierre-Yves Rochon and the three restaurants—Le Cinq, L'Orangerie and Le George—have boasted five Michelin stars between them since 2017, a first in Europe.
A contributing factor of the hotel’s gastronomical success goes to Simone Zanoni who came on board as head chef of the Mediterranean-style restaurant Le George is 2016. A year later, he earned his first Michelin star.
Chef Zanoni “aimed to create a journey of flavours for guests through his cuisine and hospitality” but he did not try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, the Italian chef enhanced an already popular menu by subtly adding a selection of dishes reflecting his own influences and upbringing, like his onion tarte tatin with parmesan sorbet, which quickly earned its status as a signature dish.
A dish is unique “when you have put your heart into it and created a journey of flavours,” he explains. And he understands all about the journey. Born in Salò, in northern Italy, Zanoni grew up on his grandmother’s farm, from where his gastronomic curiosity stemmed at age six. Cooking was a recipe of heritage, strong family values, traditions and, of course, fresh produce and ingredients from the farm’s fields and gardens.
After graduating from the Istituto Commerciale di Lombardia, the hopeful chef moved to London and although he spoke no English, the 18-year-old swiftly cemented his reputation as an exceptionally talented chef. Today he speaks English, French and Italian. In 1997, he started his career at the Michelin-starred Aubergine restaurant, initially as a commis and subsequently a section head.
He met Gordon Ramsay at 21 and was employed by him as a relief sous-chef in his group of restaurants. By 2003, he had stood in for the chefs of Amarylis (one Michelin star), Petrus (two Michelin stars) and Claridge’s (one Michelin star). It was a pivotal year in Zanoni’s career. He was appointed chef of the three-Michelin-star Gordon Ramsay and was awarded “Best Italian Chef Working Abroad” by the BMW Italia Guide, winning the Acorn Award.
He worked alongside the world famous restaurateur for four years before taking up the reins of the Gordon Ramsay restaurant at the Trianon Palace Versailles, Paris in 2007. He started with Four Season in 2015 and the following year took over Le George where he promotes promotes local sourcing and a sustainable vision of tomorrow’s gastronomy at affordable (for a Michelin-star establishment) prices: the 5-course Tasting menu will set you back a mere €125 (without drinks) while the 4-course Vegetarian and Vegan menus are equally reasonable at €110.
“After a long career in different Michelin starred restaurants, I think I have finally found my place at Le George, where the light and convivial cuisine meets a buzzing and trendy ambiance,” Zanoni said.