Since 2012, Villa Louise, an offshoot of asset manager Creutz and Partners has been inviting some of the world’s best chefs into its private kitchen to collaborate, cook and share their creativity with their clients.
Now, in its sixth season, it has welcomed chefs like Sergio Herman, Alain Passard, Rasmus Kofoed, Gert De Mangeleer, Sang Hoon Degeimbre, Pierre Gagnaire, Christian Bau, Sven Elverfeld, Virgilio Martinez, Peter Goossens, Joachim Wissler and many others. Today, the total number of Michelin stars has reached 65 but that number grows each year and the aim is to reach at least 100, Yves Creutz, executive member of the board of directors told Food and Wine Gazette in an interview.
But how did the idea start, how difficult was it to start this and what leads chefs to go and cook at Villa Louise?
How did you come up with the idea to start Villa Louise and in particular to invite chefs over to cook at your premises?
We are an exclusive Asset Manager (Creutz & Partners) located in northern Luxemburg. Our main clientele is located within a radius of 500 km around Luxembourg, With the Villa Louise, situated in the tri-border region Aachen, we wanted to create a well located cultural and culinary spot where we could welcome our clients and network. Following our philosophy of familiarity and discretion, it seemed to be a good match to organize unique top-class events with the very best chefs worldwide.
Why do you focus on food?
Because food is life and (not yet) “appable“☺. I think it is hard to beat a well spent meal together. The best way to exchange is often to eat together and to spend time with someone.
Who was the first chef to cook at Villa Louise?
At that time, the youngest Michelin starred chef of Germany: Maximilian Kreus on July 2012; a regional newcomer that cooked at the Villa Louise for 10 people (nowadays the chefs are cooking for 26 people).
How difficult was it to convince him to come?
It was not as easy as today. As you can imagine, it is hard for a chef to quit his kitchen and enter unknown terrain. He did a great job by the way!
Has it become easier to sign up chefs for the season?
Yes, absolutely. Nowadays, we are mostly getting the requests from the chefs themselves.
What are the logistics that go behind the dinners? Do you have a fully equipped kitchen? Do the chefs bring their teams with them and cook from scratch? Do they bring the produce with them?
Depending on the chef´s location, the logistics are more or less challenging. In most cases, we pick up the food at the chef’s restaurant. If the distance doesn’t allow it (overseas), we provide the ingredients from various high-quality suppliers and the chef brings on his specialities. Virgilio Martínez for example brought on a dried beef heart from Peru. Some chefs are doing the whole preparation at the Villa Louise and some chefs have already done their mise en place when they arrive. Usually they bring on a team of 2-3 persons, but, again, every chef is different! Yes, we have a fully equipped open kitchen where our guests are right in the middle of action.
You have had an impressive selection of chefs. Are there some chefs that you dream of having in the coming seasons?
After a nice breakfast by Alain Ducasse…I would go for a nordic lunch by Magnus Nilsson…followed by an Emoji-Menu of Gaggan.
This must be the most exclusive private kitchen ever. Have you ever had any strange requests from guests?
Yes, it is very exclusive and private. But in fact, the vibe at the Villa Louise is always very pleasant and easygoing. Perhaps not the usual financial atmosphere you expect. One of our guests, a local mustard producer, asked Alain Passard to season a dish with his mustard! A spontaneous act that turned into something delicious.
Is Villa Louise here to stay? What are your ambitions for the future?
Achieving 100 Michelin stars would be great. After that we will see.
Which was the best season in your view?
We always try the next season to be our best season.
Any new culinary projects for the future?
Our primary focus is building up our new head office in Luxembourg. We are creating a new and powerful location, where our team and our clients can enjoy the different assets of a local, healthy and organic living.
How do you go about inviting the chefs?
Most chefs are contacting us via Instagram. As for our part, we usually contact them by direct mail or via a third person.