They were fifty-six leaders… but in the end, only one will remain. No, you have not just attended the epilogue of Koh-Lanta (with Top Chef sauce) but the first final of the Combat des regions on M6. After eight weeks of competition arbitrated by chef Norbert Tarayre accompanied by jurors Gilles Goujon and Aurélie Chaigneau, only four delegations were able to access the grand final.
Before that, all the chefs (each supported by three local figures) honored the cuisine and flavors of their region through several challenges. In this culinary competition putting the four corners of France to the test, the Hérault delegation represented by chef Sébastien Misseri was able to do well to make the taste buds of the jury salivate.
On the occasion of the final episode broadcast this Friday, September 2, the Franco-Mexican chef had three Hérault ambassadors in his ranks: olive grower Felix Monteils, bartender Frantz Heitz de Robert and restaurateur Antoine Gibelin. Thanks to their communicative joy and their team spirit, they excelled during this final with a potato-based ice cream. And, they brought home the title of “best cuisine in France”, not to mention the check for 10,000 euros at stake.
With Planet, Antoine Gibelin returned to their adventure of several weeks in the heart of the former Menier chocolate factory in Noisiel, where the filming of the M6 program was held.
How was the atmosphere within the delegation?
Antoine Gibelin: The agreement was incredible. We are four good friends from the south of France who all like the same thing: partying with friends, eating well, drinking good wine. Then, the four of us are on the show for a week defending our regional products. With our good understanding and our joie de vivre, it was just magnificent.
How did the jury (Norbert Tarayre, Aurélie Chaigneau and Gilles Goujon) perceive your work and your team cohesion?
Antoine Gibelin: It was very funny because we arrived with a lot of energy, spirit and joie de vivre. They thought we were merry-go-rounds, they’re just there to mess around. But, to tell the truth, behind, we have a leader who is very strong, he excels in what he does and he has very good ideas. He knew how to produce magnificent plates.
A highlight to remember during the qualifying stage?
Antoine Gibelin: What struck us the most was having met so many good people in the opposing teams. We only meet enthusiasts who do the same thing as us. On the other hand, it is also to have seen that our chef was able to come up with incredible things for us to have a chance of winning. For our first stage, we made squid stuffed with Sétoise (for the traditional event), a mille-feuille of rillettes in squid ink in homage to Pierre Soulages and “a walk in the forest” with a trompe- the eye (for the creation test).
How did you prepare for the final?
Antoine Gibelin: We stayed together and looked for ideas with our chef. We approached this final with lots of love and laughter. We find the good atmosphere with a little more pressure. You can win so we’re not here to laugh anymore. You play a little for your name, but also for your boss who also plays his notoriety. So we really approached this final with a lot of seriousness and desire.
No animosity or rivalry between the candidates?
Antoine Gibelin: Nothing, zero! He was a really good kid.
Did the jurors accompany you in the design of the dishes?
Antoine Gibelin: No, the judges just watched. They were just there to give us the wanted theme and the tasting. Only Norbert accompanied us. He was behind, he was watching and doing his show!
A word on chef Norbert Tarayre?
Antoine Gibelin: He’s as crazy as me (laughs). He talks loud, it’s crazy. He is a very nice person, he is very humble. He’s a human guy. Frankly, we were very pleasantly surprised to meet a guy like that. He didn’t give us any advice, but we talked a lot about our dishes.
What has the show brought to your delegation?
Antoine Gibelin: The show showed us what it was like to work together. But, above all, it brought us visibility. Félix is a great organic market gardener in the region who makes extraordinary olives and olive oil. It will bring him visibility and calls. The same also goes for Sébastien and Frantz is going to open his restaurant which is going to be incredible. It definitely helps to get started. As for me, we are talking about my establishment (Le Mas de la Feuillade, Ed).
What is your assessment of the competition?
Antoine Gibelin: We really took this competition as pleasure, especially to be together. And we took it seriously at the end of the first week when we started to understand that there was a level, but always in joy and good humor. It was our motto!