I am a cook at heart.
This establishment is the starting point for a collective human adventure that goes beyond the doors of the restaurant. It is carried by a powerful energy, that of the new ecosystem in which I conduct my work as a chef, the goal being to apply ethical practices and methods, whether they relate to food, agriculture, wellness or education. It is carried by hope, a hope that future generations will adopt the same optimistic and enthusiastic vision of a world in which cuisine can contribute to sustainability.
The Vercors is dear to my heart. My great-grandfather was a farmer and a market gardener, my grandfather was a baker, and my father was a chef and a hotelier. This area shaped me. I grew up among the pines, the forests and the mountains of Isère. I am a proud alpine chef who enjoys various outdoor and mountain sports: kitesurfing on lakes, ski touring in the winter, cross-country skiing… sport is as integral a part of my life as what I eat, and this is a balance I could have found nowhere else. I also chose to set up Maison Aribert in Uriage to show my solidarity for the local area. I wanted to support its wealth of know-how, its tradespeople and its resources by giving work to as many local firms as possible. Maison Aribert strives to be a shop window for local tradespeople and craftsmen who harbour a shared desire for greater eco-responsibility.
Taking over and renovating this 19th century chalet that was destined for demolition, giving a new lease of life to a building loaded with history – one that forms an integral part of the village’s landscape – and bringing it up to date by adding a thoroughly modern structure was a challenge we picked up with the help of the municipality. “We were looking for a project sponsor who would give real meaning to this renovation. Christophe came to us with his plans, his enthusiasm and his energy, and we felt straight away that we would be able to do great things together.” Gérald Giraud, Mayor of St-Martin d’Uriage.
My crew is important. they are fully on board with the commitments i make. when it comes to nature, abnegation and general engagement, we share the same values.
My crew is important. They are fully on board with the commitments I make. When it comes to nature, abnegation and general engagement, we share the same values. We do sport together, we head into the mountains together, we go back-country skiing together, we climb summits together! Most of them have been with me for 15 years, which is rare in my profession. They are totally aligned with the convictions that fuel Maison Aribert. Without them, it would not have been built and I would not have had the same enthusiasm for the idea.
At Maison Aribert, we have total respect for the seasons, seasonal produce and local products, not to mention the people who produce them. Being a farmer today is challenging and that will continue to be the case in the future. The profession must understand the land it cultivates, while also showing it respect. Supporting the agricultural transition is a daily undertaking. It is important to help market gardeners to transform, embrace organic produce and adopt a more sensible approach, so as to fully respect their environment. A vegetable garden created according to the principles of permaculture is taking root on the roof of the gastronomic restaurant. We are already self-sufficient for herbs, spices and certain vegetables. The crew takes care of the garden, but not without the help of our professional market gardener, who maintains the plot. We are also in talks with the town hall regarding the use of a larger area of agricultural land nearby, which would supply the village’s school and retirement home. This would allow us to have a direct social impact on the local area, by housing and supporting a farming family with the help of our partner Fermes d’avenir.
Being a farmer today is challenging, and that will increasingly be the case in the future: there is a need to understand and respect the land
I now understand that food is at the root of cell regeneration in the body, and that really strikes a chord with me. Epigenetics fascinate me. This knowledge has led me to develop a cuisine that combines pleasure, aesthetics and wellness, and to go much further in the quest for healthy eating. I try to work with more medicinal plants and to exploit all the virtues of natural ingredients. My aim is to gain an intimate understanding of what is good for you and to share it as widely as I can. We work with local schools and hospitals in an attempt to address day-to-day food issues. Maison Aribert’s event space will play host to conferences and businesses that apply this philosophy in their own way and in their own sector. An etiopath and a naturopath will also be in residence at Maison Aribert.
The chef talks to us about his project, his philosophy and the causes to which he is committed. Various personalities offer their thoughts on this atypical establishment, whose vision reaches far beyond the doors of its kitchen…