Cyril Attrazic, Lozère’s only Michelin-starred chef, takes pride in his unique cuisine

This native of the Aubrac region is committed to cooking exceptional meats. He shares his passion for the land with a cuisine that is singular, creative and even disconcerting. This earned him a second Michelin star in March 2023.

 

On the road to Santiago de Compostela, at an altitude of 1,000 meters, there’s a stopover in Aumont-Aubrac, in northern Lozère. The “Chez Camillou” hotel, masterfully run by David Arnal, cousin of chef Cyril Attrazic, boasts a treasure trove: a double Michelin-starred restaurant. For some pilgrims who haven’t taken a vow of asceticism, it’s comfort after effort.

 

But the eponymous restaurant “Cyril Attrazic” is internationally renowned for its singular, original and even disconcerting culinary identity. It is the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Lozère. It is fully booked from Thursday to Sunday evenings.

 

© Cyril Attrazic

 

Cyril, fourth generation, and his wife Karine are at the helm of this fine establishment. They welcome their guests with a big smile.

 

In a world where cuisine is becoming more plant-based, Aubrac remains a land of livestock farming and smallholdings. It’s through our selection of local produce that we share our passion for our region“, says Cyril Attrazic by way of introduction, as he unexpectedly welcomes us into his kitchen.

 

The plates here are more meaty. Vegetarians and vegans abstain. Although the small vegetables that can replace aligot – the emblematic Aubrac dish – are deliciously crunchy and tasty.

 

But not just any meat! The chef from Aubrac explains: “At a time when we’re talking about responsible ecology, here in Aubrac, we’re developing our ecology around beef. Did you know that when we eat beef, we eat mainly cows? They’re generally between 3 and 14 years old and have calved five or six times. It’s not the best meat! France is a country that gives birth to calves, but exports them to Germany and Italy in particular. I prefer to work with castrated calves that are between two and a half and three years old. It’s much tastier and more tender“.

 

None of this would be possible if his wife’s cousins didn’t have their own farms in the area. A short, privileged circuit that runs in the family. “On Aubrac land, there are micro-farms where the animals are well treated,” emphasizes the Lozère chef.

 

When an animal is killed, in addition to the noble parts, Cyril Attrazic is also keen to cook the offal. “We keep everything and use the meat to make chopped steaks, pasta Bolognese, beef bourguignon...”, explains this follower of sustainable development.

 

What about the ambience? A contemporary decor was chosen in collaboration with architect Hervé Porte, an ally for some twenty years. Well-spaced tables create a private environment. An innovative system integrates subdued lighting, music and perfect acoustics to ensure privacy. No white tablecloths. No fuss. The white plates follow the ballet of the dishes. The deer antler knives crafted by Sophie Fauré at Mas Saint-Chély stand out.

 

Paris with Alain Ducasse, then the London epic, and back to Lozère

 

© Cyril Attrazic

 

But let’s look back at the career of this extraordinary chef. Born in Aubrac with the idea of taking over the family business, the young man trained close to home at the Saint-Chély-d’Apcher lycée, then at the Ferrandi school in Paris. He trained at the Trianon Palace in Versailles, then worked with Alain Ducasse in Paris. This was followed by an epic London adventure with Karine. In 1998, the couple decided to “come home” to build a new life and take over the family restaurant, where they met Michel Bras, who invited the young chef to Laguiole. It was a defining moment for Cyril Attrazic’s resolutely distinctive cuisine.

 

My grandmother Linette, who died at 87, dreamed of growing old among her grandchildren. She had the good idea of constructing two buildings. The hotel was bequeathed to my cousin and the restaurant to me“, explains the forty-year-old. In homage to her, the restaurant opposite is called “Linette“. Just cross the road to get there. Low prices allow you to discover the chef’s delicious cuisine. The gizzard salad is magnificent – a reconstituted salad, that’s rare! and the tête de veau ravigote is a delight for connoisseurs.

 

In 2023, Cyril Attrazic was awarded his second star. “The second star reassured me of my vision of cuisine. It gave legitimacy to our teams, our family and our breeders, without whom we couldn’t work the way we do“, confides the chef at the head of a nine-strong brigade.

 

A cuisine that anticipates, works on oxidation, dehydration and fermentation

 

The chef cultivates the confidentiality of his kitchen. Little information is available on the cyrilattrazic.fr website that bears his name. To put it plainly, at the gourmet restaurant, you can opt for either the “Sentier d’Aubrac” menu (170 euros) or the Laie d’Aubrac” menu (130 euros).
“The dishes change with the seasons, so the menu is not set in stone,” emphasizes Cyril, who likes to pick flowers and herbs from his garden.

 

During an extended stay at “Chez Camillou”, you can enjoy a “lighter” lunch at the “Le Gabale” brasserie. These are still dishes that keep you going! Like, for example, the low-temperature beef confit fondant, sucrine remoulade and aligot, or the lamb neck stuffed with sweetbreads and aligot.

 

Cyril Attrazic’s secret weapon? “I’m the opposite of a market chef. I like to anticipate and work on the oxidation, dehydration and fermentation of products. Poultry and duck are matured for at least a month.

 

Judge for yourself when you taste the Laie d’Aubrac menu.
Rosé lamb with fermented rose juice melts under the tongue.
Arctic char served in a broth of smoked bones is a delight.
Duck matured in beurre blanc noir has a very meaty, original taste. This is followed by the gentian tonic sorbet with black lemon powder (oxidized at 60 degrees for 60 days), which provokes great sensations in the mouth.
But we won’t tell you about all the chef’s surprises…

 

Read also > The new face of gastronomy

Featured photo : © Corine Moriou

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Corine Moriou
Corine Moriou was a senior reporter for the L'Express group for 15 years. Today, she works as a freelance journalist. Her favorite subjects are society, culture, travel and well-being. Never blasé, always ready!

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