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“It was more of a social pressure”: this starred chef from Vence explains his departure from the Côte d’Azur to the mountains

He was one of the great chefs of the Côte d’Azur, he gave a new direction to his career. And to his life. Christophe Dufau held Les Bacchanales, in Vence, for which he was crowned with a Michelin star for twelve years.

He lost it in 2020, closed his restaurant and opened a guest house in Lézignan, a small village in the Hautes-Pyrénées. The loss of his star is not the trigger, but one of the elements that made him listen to his true nature.

“I’m not super worldly…”

“The star was not a pressure in itself. It was a source of pride. But I had risen to 14 employees, it was more a social pressure, human relationships for which I was perhaps not fact. I’m not super social. It’s the sharing around the table that excites me the most, rather than having a stuffy restaurant and pirouetting left and right”.

It had gone up to 50 covers. “A friend told me at one point that I had left for the 2nd star. It made me think. Deep down I knew that was not what I wanted.”

“Easier than gourmet”

This loss of the Michelin star, “it was a blessing in disguise, continues the cook from Draguignan. It was a sign and I completely changed my tune. I lowered the price of the menus, did other themes, it worked well. At the same time, I was looking to sell and got a hit. I sold in March 2021.”

He “sits on his commercial lease” : the buyers will only turn it into a private house. Christophe Dufau was already turned towards his “back to authenticity”. Objective: set up a guest house project, with catering “simpler than gourmet”. He looked near Thorenc, in the town of Andon, without success. Not the right configuration, too expensive…

In the Pyrenees

And then he prospected in the Southwest, where his parents are retiring. He found his happiness: “Les Perséides” a guest house at the foot of the mountain, which he opened with his partner Anastasia. Five bedrooms. He plans to cook in front of his guests, give lessons, etc.

So here he is freed from his “middle age crisis”, describes the 54-year-old Dracénois. The next page is being written. “It’s hard work and it’s a lifestyle that I’m learning as I go.”



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