Located in the heart of the government district in the upper town, two steps from Place Guillaume and the Palace of the Grand-Dukes of Luxembourg, “Le Clairefontaine” by Arnaud and Edwige Magnier is one of the culinary institutions of Luxembourg. The moment you step through the door, after having crossed the terrace lying in wait for lovely days, your taste and your senses are invited to a beautiful stroll. The considerate restaurant team will accompany you to the main dining room or to the two pleasantly lighted smaller dining rooms. The feeling to be traveling is ever-present with Espelette pepper teasing Dublin Bay prawns and lobster from Britanny, pigeons from the French Vosges, and black truffle teasing ice-creams. Welcome to a world of taste where gustatory emotions are as much as impulses awakening your desire to meet the guest of honor in your dish. The only frontier respected by Arnaud is that of taste, which he magnifies through his associations between “earth and sea” without ever failing to take a stand.
Arnaud Magnier at the School of Taste
Elected Chef of the Year 2005 by Gault Millau Benelux, Arnaud Magnier has been heading the cuisine of the Restaurant Clairefontaine for 14 years. A success that he shares namely with his wife … and his parents.
Fine cooks themselves, mother and father Magnier took their son to star-awarded restaurants before he could walk on his own. At the age of five young Arnaud started saying “I will be a chef!” He grows up developing a talent for tennis – French classification 15 – and embarks on his journey into cuisine at the age of 14 at Dijon’s Hotel Management School. With his diploma in his pocket, he starts his career in Mâcon, at the “Rocher de Cancale”, where he comes across a trainee named Edwige. She will become his wife and still works side by side with him at the Clairefontaine. Whenever they have some spare time, they take, of course, their two children to good restaurants!
Arnaud Magnier was working with Bernard Loiseau at the “Côte d’Or” when the famous restaurant in Saulieu was awarded its third Michelin star in 1990. One year later, he is conscripted into the army … serving at the Elysée! He returns from this stay behind the scenes of this palace at the time of François Mitterand with innumerable anecdotes. Later, he is second-in-command at “La Barbacane” in Carcassonne when the restaurant is awarded its second star. In 1998, Bernard Loiseau contacts Arnaud again and asks him to launch his first restaurant in Paris, “Tante Louise” – a success! When Tony Tintinger calls and suggests he take over the Clairefontaine, the time has come for him to work on his own. Selling the Clairefontaine, the former proprietor gives back his star. Arnaud catches up in one season!
“I have not invented anything”. Mister Magnier is not one of the chefs who pretend revolutionizing cooking. He relies on three traditional fundamentals: the product, the product, and the product. Looking at his creations you will find an unchanging quartet: It starts out crispy to make you chew in order to fine-tune your perception of tastes. Then it becomes mellow as a contrast to the starting point. There is the volume for the pleasure of your eyes and there are textures to stimulate your curiosity. His scallops with celery and truffles could be considered his “Signature” dish, but his royal hare gives a marvelous summary of his style: All parts of the animal are dissociated, prepared separately and in various ways, and reassembled when served in order to spoil gourmets.