Incredible and Innovative Tasting Menu in Les Gets
Oh my goodness who knew about The Ferme de Montagne in Les Gets? This incredible gastronomic wonderland tucked away in La Turche in the beautiful ski resort of Les Gets. Nevermind that this is some of the most amazingly creative food I’ve eaten in Les Gets – it’s probably some of the most innovative food I’ve eaten anywhere.
Team of 2 Chefs
Valentine Costuna and Jesse Smith, an incredible team of 2 chefs are creating something truly wonderful at Ferme de Montagne, a superb catered chalet in Les Gets. Valentine is from Tasmania and Jesse from Canada and they bring with them a wealth of global culinary experience which spans 6 continents. The pair met when they were cooking on an expedition vessel in Antarctica.
Visiting Michelin Starred Chef
I was delighted to try Valentine and Jesse’s tasting menu on an evening that one of the previous chefs who worked at The Ferme de Montagne was visiting. Jon Marsden Jones who went on to become a Michelin starred chef at the Black Rat in Winchester was the chef at The Ferme de Montagne from 2013 – 2015 and came back for a week to do a ‘pop up’ few evenings. What a unique experience.
So Jesse and Valentine love experimenting and pushing the culinary boundaries. Their love of creating something wonderful was evident in every dish I ate. The combination of flavours, the techniques, the presentation…all outstanding. I particularly loved their use of fermenting different foods. One of the chefs came out from the kitchen to describe each dish in detail as it was served. I loved this passion and enthusiasm of the chefs.
The Tasting Menu
The tasting menu consisted of 8 courses and was all beautifully presented. The service was subtly attentive and excellent. The talented and efficient team at The Ferme de Montagne clearly enjoy their work and their enthusiasm was infectious.
LEFT: The whipped lard with fennel seeds which was served with the homemade spelt bread was surprisingly good. Another delight was the Ferme de Montagne Katsuobushi brown butter which is a house speciality.
RIGHT: The first dish was a grilled duck’s heart on a rosemary skewer with Anticuchera – a tasty sauce from Peru.
I love a tasting menu as I get to try many more flavours and dishes than on a standard menu, not to mention the fun of pairing wines with the dishes. Did I mention the fabulous wine list of over 120 wines and Danielle Mangini, the very knowledgeable Italian sommelier? Danielle came to Ferme de Montagne from Sketch in London.
Scallops with tonkotsu, pickled seaweed and ginger was the second dish we enjoyed, and I mean really enjoyed! The fermented ingredients and flavours worked so well with the fresh scallop.
Did someone say congee?
LEFT: The crab congee bisque with lobster roe was amazing! An absolutely delicious ‘stand out’ dish.
RIGHT: Followed by another… exquisitely flavoured squid with caramelised whey, chorizo and pickled apple. These carefully balanced flavours all working together so well.
This next dish was a first for me – I’ve never tried lambs tongue, but not one to shy away from trying new things… I did enjoy it especially partnered with a carrot puree, kimchi and pickled currants.
Perfectly cooked Venison followed, served with fermented garlic, persillade and a preserved blueberry which all tasted divine with the Venison.
So to dessert! LEFT: The most amazingly flavoured blood orange sorbet teamed with Tasmanian pepperberry and olive oil was an inspirational idea. As unusual as it may sound – the flavour combination was incredible and so fresh on the palate.
RIGHT: This melange of flavours are all firm favourites with me so I adored this dessert. Chocolate cremeaux with raspberry, a meringue flavoured with Szechuan pepper and lemongrass an interesting oriental flavour to finish!
I enjoyed this tasting menu so much, trying new and innovative flavours, learning about ingredients from far off places and meeting and enjoying the company of these two chefs. The plating of every dish was outstanding and as mentioned earlier, I particularly enjoyed either chef Jesse or Valentine describing their dishes to us.
Jon Marsden Jones
Jon Marsden Jones worked at the Ferme de Montagne from 2013 – 2015. By his own admission, he went from pub chef to head chef by being offered the head chef role at Ferme de Montagne. When he left he became head chef at The Black Rat in Winchester where he gained and retained a Michelin Star. “Ferme de Montagne is known as an incubator for promising chefs and it is Jon’s hard work and committed dedication to become a good chef that has been the driving force of his success.” said Suzanne Dixon-Hudson
As if it wasn’t incredible enough to have tried Jesse and Valentine’s wonderful tasting menu, I was invited back to the gorgeous dining room with a roaring log fire at The Ferme de Montagne to enjoy Jon Marsden-Jones own tasting menu. Jon worked closely with Valentine and Jesse in their kitchen – his old kitchen. The symbiotic relationship that developed between these three chefs on this creative culinary journey which culminated in a great tasting menu was fantastic! Jon brought back to his old kitchen some of his areas of expertise including cooking with pigs blood and a signature fish dish from The Black Rat.
The 3 chef collaboration Tasting Menu
And here is the tasting menu that the 3 chefs collaborated on.
LEFT: A blood macaron with foie gras mousse. The use of blood in the macaron was an interesting idea in the challenge to use all parts of the animal, which is an area of culinary expertise for Jon. The macaron was delicately flavoured and partnered the foie gras mousse well.
CENTRE: Cured salmon, pickled cucumber, daikon noodles, buttermilk. I loved all of the ingredients on this plate and together they worked perfectly for me. The skill of the different methods of ‘cooking’ deployed here was not lost on me
RIGHT: Chawanmushi smoked eel with fermented tomato water. A Japanese inspired savoury egg custard dish which I really enjoyed. Strong flavours all really tasty together.
A signature dish
LEFT: This fish dish, a signature dish at The Black Rat, was a ‘stand out’ dish for me. The combination of the delicate and perfectly cooked sole fillet with a black garlic farfalle, cockles, mushroom and asparagus was delightful.
RIGHT: Followed by a gutsy dish of duck breast with sticky red cabbage and a parsnip puree which was delicious.
Not one but 2 desserts!
LEFT: Blood Bavarois with cherry sorbet. The use of blood in Jon’s cooking comes in again here to create a bavarois which had citrus flavours. Using blood in place of egg in baking is becoming more popular again and as they both have very similar protein compositions and content, they behave the same in baking. If I hadn’t known it was blood I would not have detected any difference in flavour.
RIGHT: White chocolate, yuzu, black sesame, liquorice macaron. Not sure how many favourite dishes I can have in one post but white chocolate and liquorice are right up there as two of my favourite flavours. This combination as a dessert was fabulous, just fabulous!
The Ferme de Montagne restaurant is at La Turche in Les Gets. They cater for outside diners but be sure to book it’s popular. They offer a pick-up and drop-off service for dinner. The Ferme de Montagne has 9 rooms all with kingsize or twin beds, this is a boutique chalet hotel in Les Gets offering a 5-star service. The Ferme de Montagne is open every winter until around 10th April. They offer an amazing gourmet and skiing experience holiday.
I enjoyed both of these tasting menu dinners as a guest of Ferme de Montagne, Les Gets but received no remuneration to write this post. I was not expected to write a positive review, these are my own opinions and I retain full editorial control.
I went back to try the three-course dinner menu and see the evolution of the cuisine of Jesse and Valentine and I enjoyed every wonderful mouthful!
Here’s a little animation of dinner!
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