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Valentin Morice, a self-taught chef, with multiple hats


Barely 30 years old, chef Valentin Morice already possesses all the qualities of great chefs. A talent that he has put at the service of Domaine Boisniard, in Vendée, for 7 years now and to which he offers, in 2020, his first Michelin star. Since May 1, 2023, he has also signed the Bistrot Boisniard menu. Meeting with a passionate and fascinating man.

Valentin Morice

Tell us about your career.
I am from Chambray-lès-Tours (37), then I lived for many years in the Dominican Republic. When I decided that I wanted to be a cook, I said to myself that France was the best country to train me. I then passed a BEP and a professional baccalaureate at the hotel school Les Sorbets in La Roche-sur-Yon, with the aim of one day working in the great Parisian restaurants. After an experience at the Plaza Athénée, I realized that this is not what made me vibrate. In 2012, I then joined the Domaine de la Bretesche (44), where I worked for three and a half years as a commis chef. During these three years, we have also recovered the star. Then I followed my partner who got a job at Château Boisniard. I then leaned on pastry for 6 months, then I quickly obtained the position of chef. I have been here for 7 years and I like the fact that I have grown at the same time as the restaurant, with an address book with suppliers that has not stopped growing.


In 2020, you bring La Table du Boisniard its first star. Has it changed your way of working?
It didn't change much. At the time I was very young, I was 27, so on paper it's scary but after all we gave ourselves the means to get there. I created myself, with my own culinary identity. With the team, we have moved forward by trusting our customers. I always continue on the same path, while having framed a little bit, with less improvisation. We have developed more advanced technical sheets, so that there is the same regularity, the same consistency. However, I don't put any pressure on myself. We respect our customer by working on a beautiful product, with well-executed seasonings. For the moment, I devote myself fully to this, remaining diligent.


Your cooking consists mainly of ingredients from the vegetable garden of Domaine Boisniard, do you prefer the local products?
Indeed, the 1 hectare vegetable garden, in permaculture, allows us to be self-sufficient. I start from the principle that when there is no more vegetable in the garden, we must change the dish. We favor the local products on all the ingredients, with small market gardeners less than 10 km away, or even a pigeon breeding just behind the house. I have been working with the same people for 7 years.


Do you have a product that comes up regularly in your cuisine?
Above all, I like to work with plants. But we also have a signature dish: Breton langoustine.


You combined your job with that of sommelier for a while, is that still the case? In your opinion, how are the professions of sommelier and chef complementary?
Today, we have a sommelier butler and a head sommelier who manage a cellar with 200 references, 90% of which are organic wines, from small winegrowers. For my part, I start from the principle that a chef must have several strings to his bow, so I trained to be versatile in all positions. I trained on my own, with a lot of personal work, tastings, visits to estates which broadened my knowledge, and of course with the sommelier lessons I had during my school career.


Your perfect pairing?
I like the Chenins from my region, especially the whites from the AOC Savennières. My cuisine is not necessarily suited to red wines, but Pinot Noirs, fluid, with melted tannins, are perfect with my land-sea cuisine.

At La Table du Boisniard, we also offer non-alcoholic pairings, with decoctions of plants from the garden, from the forest in order to keep the plant side that I offer in my dishes in the line of sight.


If you hadn't been a chef?
I hesitated with the fact of being an architect, but I couldn't imagine myself behind a desk. Being a chef, I stay creative, I attach great importance to the architecture of my dishes and to the graphic side.

Interview by Sandy Bénard-Ravoisier / Photos : Domaine Boisniard​