Back in November 1999, when Lionel Levy opened his first restaurant on Marseille’s Vieux Port, in the 1st-floor premises of a former pizzeria, the whole town was wondering who he was. In fact, he hails from Toulouse and is a disciple of Alain Ducasse and former sous-chef to Christophe Moret at his Parisian restaurant Spoon. Twenty years on, Levy has entrusted his restaurant Une Table Au Sud to Ludovic Turac and gone to lead the 48-strong team running the brasserie, restaurant and room service at the InterContinental Marseille Hôtel Dieu.
Ludovic Turac and Jérémy Scalia, both now Michelin-starred chefs, one in Marseille, the other in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, “have truly come into their own”.
“Being a mentor is all about leading people down paths they never would have trodden otherwise,” stresses Levy, who believes he has passed on much more than just recipes and technical skills. “I’m sure they would say I was hard on them, but it’s those high standards that pushed them to achieve great things”. He says Ludovic Turac used to be “a bit too sure of himself,” whereas Paul Langlère, the owner of Sépia, “held himself back and didn’t exploit his full potential. I think he must be happy now he has his own restaurant,” smiles Levy. Jérôme Anfray, currently working in Beirut, is yet another example of a former sous-chef whose success Levy believes goes far beyond restaurant guide recognition.
“I’ve always chosen where I wanted to work,” explains Jérémy Scalia. “I’ve worked in five restaurants in total and all the chefs I met there have been a great inspiration, like Lionel Levy and Eric Frechon.” When asked whether he had plans to follow in his mentor’s footsteps, Turac answers: “I’d like to cast my net even wider – cater at a hotel for example, or open a bakery/pâtisserie, maybe even a pizzeria. Whatever I do, I want to offer customers the best quality”. The culinary legacy continues…
Par Dominique Juan