© Regine Datin
Nancy Passions Sucrées

A la Table du Bon Roy Stanislas

A la Table du Bon Roy Stanislas

Conversation with Yvain Rollot – Chef

The idea is to find out what Stanislaw served on his table, and to share anecdotes about the Court of Lunéville with our customers,” says Yvain Rollot.

In 2002, the restaurant A la Table du Bon Roi Stanislas opened on Rue Gustave Simon with an original concept. Passionate about both cooking and history, the two young business partners, Jonathan Seeleuthner and Yvain Rollot, serve cuisine that has a link with Stanislaw’s own table. A delightful mix of cuisines from Lorraine, Poland, and 18th-century France. A la Table du Bon Roi also serves up dozens of delicious anecdotes and historical details that immerse guests in the history of the region and set the atmosphere for tasting the dishes. The partners worked extensively on the recipes, sometimes with slight adaptations for our 21st-century palates. The technology of today makes up for the number of people in the kitchen, but the letter and spirit of the recipes are always upheld. The Nancy Passions Sucrées label has been awarded to the candied bergamot and the “original” baba made with Tokaji wine from Hungary.

 

NANCY PASSIONS SUCRÉES SPÉCIALITIES

  • The Baba of Stanislas
  • Bergamot Candy

“We recreated a traditional recipe that had been forgotten. Everyone has heard of rum baba, but no one seemed to remember that it wasn’t originally made with rum.”

 

Why did you choose this profession and what was most appealing to you?

Ever since I was little, I had a taste for cooking and pastry-making, and I knew I wanted to open a restaurant. I went to school to help achieve my dreams (technological high school diploma and a two-year degree in hotel and restaurant management), and that’s where I met my future business partner, Jonathan Seeleuthner. We had similar plans: he was interested in the gastronomy of Lorraine, and I was passionate about the history of gastronomy. We decided to enter the Evian Badoit competition together. As students, we were able to present our restaurant project and get help for creating our business. We thought that Stanislaw was a perfect starting point. He was a way to approach our two ways of understanding the profession, and he also provided us with a clear concept for our clients.

 

How did you learn your skills?

Our cooking training provided us with the basics (for our two specialities, the fundamentals of pastry-making and confectionery), and we continued learning on our own. We studied the historical recipes to find out what was being done, and then worked and reworked the recipes, again and again.

 

How long did it take you to perfect your craft?

We began working together at the end of 1998, we entered the Evian Badoit competition in 2000, and we opened the restaurant in 2002. Little by little, we developed and perfected our recipes.

Baba with Tokaji wine: we started out using saffron in the dough (as the original Polish recipe calls for) that we then soaked with the Tokaji wine. After a few months, we realized that a lot of our customers were put off by the combination of saffron and Tokaji. So, we modified the recipe a bit by taking the saffron out of the dough and putting it on the side in the form of ice cream.

Bergamot Candy: the trick is in the candying. We candy various citrus fruits every year (bergamots, oranges, lemons, citrons) and it really is a matter of habit. We crystalise the fruit in a syrup that is more and more concentrated by slowly adding sugar. Every year, I feel like I’m less and less bad at making them (laughs).

 

What has experience taught you? Do you bring a personal touch to your work?

Tokaji baba: we recreated a traditional recipe that had been forgotten. Everyone has heard of rum baba, but no one seemed to remember that it wasn’t originally made with rum. We’re really happy to have been able to share this knowledge with everyone. It’s also an opportunity to highlight Tokaji wine, which was the wine of Stanislaw that he moved heaven and earth to get every year. We have historical documents where he writes to his friends back in Alsace, asking them to make sure that the small barrel of Tokaji makes it across the border and that the customs officers don’t take too much.

Bergamot Candy: the recipe appears in the book “Le Cannaméliste Français” (The French Candier) written in Lunéville by Stanislaw’s chef. He was in charge of cooking, presentation, decorating tables, prepping, making desserts and serving. There are lots of recipes in this book, most of them are sweet, and in particular candied fruit recipes that were then called jams. These could be dry jams like candied fruit, or liquid jams that were candied fruits in syrup, similar to the type of jam that we spread on our toast in the morning. If you crystalise these fruits in a syrup that is more and more concentrated, you get what we call Candy. We changed the recipe a little for a result with more fruit and less sugar, creating a Candy with a fine fruit flavour that is easier to bite into.

 

Who do you want to pass on your expertise to? And how do you plan to do it?

Unlike other Nancy specialities, our recipes aren’t a secret. We regularly welcome journalists and show them our recipes. And every year, I have apprentices and trainees in the kitchen, and I teach them how to prepare our specialities. There is nothing secret about it, but the technique is acquired through hard work and experience.

 

Any tips to share or pass on to non-pastry chefs?

Tokaji baba: the trick is knowing how to work with baking yeast. Since it’s a living microorganism, you can’t rush it in terms of the temperature at the start of the recipe. You really have to give the yeast time to work the flour, transform the aromas of the dough, and multiply. All this will help the baba properly rise and bake well in the oven. It also contributes to the texture of the baba.

Bergamot Candy: you have to take your time and candy the fruit slowly in the sugar syrup, increasing the syrup’s concentration little by little without rushing it. Otherwise, the zest is too hard and won’t take the sugar well.

 

 

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