Christopher Coutanceau et Nicolas Brossard

Christopher Coutanceau La Rochelle

Genesis

At the beginning there was the Ocean, which would become the torchbearer in Christopher Coutanceau's epic adventure in La Rochelle. Then came Richard and Maryse Coutanceau, a couple of restaurant owners who took over the old pergola on La Concurrence Beach, which would quickly become a stepping stone for a world of opportunities.

The restaurant, which opened in 1984, was awarded two Michelin stars two years later, a real achievement and a foretaste of what was to come. In 1988, the Establishment became a member of Relais & Châteaux , and Christopher Coutanceau headed back to the fold in 2002 to join his father as head chef, then Nicolas Brossard arrived as head sommelier in 2003.

It was obvious the two men were meant to meet. So, when Richard and Maryse Coutanceau stepped down in 2007, it was perfectly natural for Christopher Coutanceau and Nicolas Brossard to partner to buy the restaurant and continue to write its history together.

And, their greatest desire is to ensure this history is and will be elegant and fascinating, inspirational and devoted, passionate just like them.

History

As Christopher Coutanceau and Nicolas Brossard were determined to elevate their Establishment to the highest level, they joined Les Grandes Tables du Monde in 2013. Every day is a new incentive for excellence, frontstage in the restaurant itself and backstage in the kitchen.

Their ambitions are perfectly embodied in the new restaurant dining space, totally redesigned in 2017 to floor-to-ceiling diffuse the marine-themed realm that reigns supreme in their daily lives.

After being honoured with Michelin's 2019 Sustainable Gastronomy award, the Restaurant Christopher Coutanceau was awarded three stars in the Michelin Guide in 2020, followed by a green star, acknowledgements that underscore the teams' ongoing commitment to excellence and their eco-friendly and committed vision of gastronomy.

La Yole de Chris, opened in 2018, and La La Villa Grand Voile, inaugurated in 2020, complement the La Rochelle experience imagined by Christopher Coutanceau and Nicolas Brossard, now joined by their wives, Alice Coutanceau, in charge of public relations, and Caroline Brossard, Managing Director of the hotel.

From the moment you step inside, you're elsewhere… filled with incomparable unforgettable emotions forever.

Christopher Coutanceau La Rochelle
Christopher Coutanceau et Nicolas Brossard
Nicolas Brossard La Rochelle
Christopher Coutanceau et Nicolas Brossard
Christopher Coutanceau La Rochelle

Founders

Christopher Coutanceau, chef-fisherman and co-owner

Christopher Coutanceau, a child of the Ocean,was born and grew up in La Rochelle, where he spent his free time fishing with his grandfather André and helping his grandmother Guiguitte in the kitchen preparing the catch of the day in its most simple attire.

Fishing, cooking: the die had been cast. He learned everything naturally, without realizing it, with the sweet innocence of childhood, from the size of the fish caught to observing the seasons of the Ocean, from respecting marine-world resources to sailing.

Passion, transmitted from generation to generation like a handover, passing on the torch.

Christopher Coutanceau, who learned the tricks of the trade under Michel Guérard in Eugénie-les-Bains, Ferran Adrià at El Bulli and Joël Robuchon at Laurent in Paris, then chose to venture solo by opening his own restaurant in 2000 in La Rochelle.

Since 2002, first hand-in-hand with his father, then in partnership with Nicolas Brossard from 2007, he has been at the helm of the Restaurant Christopher Coutanceau which he runs with outstanding dedication like a ship's captain.

Whenever he has a moment, the chef continues to escape to the Ocean, his most faithful friend.

As a campaigner for sustainable, artisanal fishing that protects marine resources, Christopher Coutanceau makes his long-standing beliefs the inspiration for his delicate, iodized cuisine, imagined every morning through the treasures he comes across at the fish auction in La Rochelle.

Christopher Coutanceau La Rochelle

Nicolas Brossard, master of the House and co-owner

When a child's dreams come true, we can picture it as a tip of the hat to destiny. From early childhood, Nicolas Brossard, a native of Romorantin, always wanted to become a sommelier.

So, he trained and honed his skills by quickly joining prestigious establishments, Lucas Carton with Alain Senderens, then with Alain Ducasse at La Réserve de Beaulieu and Le Louis XV in Monaco as head sommelier.

His desire to find an establishment where he would feel perfectly at home, led him to meet Richard and Maryse Coutanceau in 2003. Actually, there's no such thing as chance.

This master of the House, who has been partnering with Christopher Coutanceau since 2007, ensures each moment is one of excellence and fervently wishes to offer guests a chance to dream and to delight.

Nothing pleases him more than talking about wine and those who make it, devoting time and attention to his guests, enthralling them with this ever-so graceful approach, which only he holds the secret to.

As the keeper of the keys to the wine cellar of the Restaurant Christopher Coutanceau, which boasts over 22,000 bottles and some 2,400 references, he makes sure pleasure reigns throughout down to the very last sip from the glass.

Nicolas Brossard La Rochelle

The two 'skippers', who have highly-different characters yet share the same taste for perfection, are inseparable and complementary. With the hotel La La Villa Grand Voile, they now welcome guests to their own Establishment in La Rochelle.

Partners

Stéphane Boutin, fish trader at the fishing port of La Rochelle
Cédric Fortunier, salt merchant and sea gardener in Saint-Clément-des-Baleines (Île de Ré)
Régis Mesnier, truffle-harvester in Charente
Mathieu Duportal, salt merchant in La Flotte (Île de Ré)

They're not only Christopher Coutanceau and Nicolas Brossard's partners, they also weave their philosophy around the salt marshes, the fishing port of La Rochelle and in truffle-filled forests. Weavers, creating bonds between the restaurant and nature; craftspeople, can't-do-withouts, instilling the power of Charente-Maritime terroir in the dishes. Our partners, distinguished artisans, are the very first links in a wonderful value chain.