“With the end of the DSP (delegation of public service) and the acquisition of golf [en mai dernier par le groupe Loisirs…
« Avec la fin de la DSP (délégation de service public) et le rachat du golf [en mai dernier par le groupe Loisirs Solutions, qui détient 51 % du capital, le reste étant détenu par des acteurs locaux, Ndlr], my contract just ended, says the chef, who nevertheless continued for a few months. “I stayed to support them throughout the season. They offered me to continue, but I have my own companies, including my consulting company which develops new catering concepts. And I prefer to make others work than to be an employee “, he throws. The management of the restaurant is now managed directly by the Loisirs Solutions group.
Thierry Verrat is also coming out of a grueling summer season marked by recruitment difficulties. “We were clearly understaffed. We would need three people to be able to open 7 days a week, so we decided to close on Tuesdays, the day when golfers are scarce. » And since the departure of the chef who assisted him, at the end of August, Thierry Verrat had to manage the kitchen for two months.
They offered me to continue, but I have my own companies. And I prefer to make others work than to be an employee.
Snacking while waiting for a successor
It is therefore with regret that the new managers of the golf course have seen the starred chef leave. “We would have liked the adventure to continue, recognizes Thomas Guillet, the strategy and development director of the Leisure Solutions group, who is also the general manager of golf operations. First for the fame of Thierry Verrat, who is a known and recognized chef, then for his know-how and the quality he had managed to put on the plate. »
Thomas Guillet is therefore actively looking for a successor and a clerk to accompany him. “The idea is not to do hyper gastronomy, but rather bistronomic, with quality cuisine”observes Thomas Guillet, who is aware that succeeding Thierry Verrat is not easy. “It was so fabulous on the plate! Besides, the customers were not mistaken. The terrace was often full. »
The three other restaurant employees – two in the dining room and one in the dishwasher – remained. It is up to them to restart the restaurant with minimum service. “With snacks, to allow golfers to have lunch on site. » Salads, croque-monsieur, sandwiches, charcuterie boards and drinks will be offered, the time to find the chef (fe). “We want to be operational for the spring. But if we can have our boss before, we will not deprive ourselves of it, “ smiles Thomas Guillet.
Installed in an old wine farm belonging to the Firino-Martell family, the golf restaurant seems decidedly cursed. In recent years, it has seen an impressive number of chefs who have sometimes left with loss and a crash. Between conflicts with the golf office and personal quarrels. Which is not the case for Thierry Verrat. “We are on very good terms and he has offered to accompany us in our start-up in the spring. His advice will be invaluable. »
One thing is certain, the name of the restaurant will not survive the departure of the chef from La Ribaudière, who had registered the name. ” It’s a detail, smiles Thomas Guillet. The priority is our leader. »
At the head of the golf course – renamed Golf du Cognac – since May, the Loisirs Solutions group immediately set to work to renew ties. “We are trying to put everything back in place and recreate confidence because the extension of the DSP and then the takeover have created uncertainties”, explains Thomas Guillet, who wants to play golf “an open place” and “to become an important player in the territory and the Cognac tourist destination”. “By finding new partners, hosting seminars, participating in fairs…” The management works closely with the new sports association (Association Sport et Loisirs Golf Cognac), around the organization of competitions and the golf school. To help him, Thomas Guillet intends to rely on Christophe Bonnard, who will take up his duties as director of golf in mid-November.