A day in the life of an Artisan of the Wild: Chef Akrame Benallal in Hong Kong
March 2019 - Akrame Benallal, French Michelin-starred chef, is one of Maison Perrier-Jouët’s Artisans of the Wild. Established in Hong Kong since 2014 with his eponymous restaurant, he has found affinity with the city’s energy and creativity. His visit on 15th March 2019was the ideal occasion to catch up with him to find out more about his role at Maison Perrier-Jouët as an Artisan of the Wild.
When he’s in Hong Kong, Akrame Benallal lives life in the fast lane. During his visit this month, Maison Perrier-Jouët spent 24 hours keeping up with the chef on a course guided by his passion for cooking, art and champagne. The programme covered his cuisine – paired with the House’s cuvées – a trip to the Hong Kong skyline, to the Centre for Heritage and Arts, which was displaying HyperNature by Bethan Laura Wood, a fellow Artisan of the Wild, commissioned by the House in 2018, and a tour of a local food market.
Maison Perrier-Jouët has asserted a singular vision of the world since its very foundation, inspired by the free spirit of its founders and the Art Nouveau movement. This vision is centred around a resolutely original approach to champagne and unconventional observations of nature. Extravagant, vibrant, unbridled nature informs everything the House does. The essence of this reinvented nature has been captured with Art of the Wild: the universe as seen by Maison Perrier-Jouët to re-enchant the everyday. To spread the magnetism of Art of the Wild, Maison Perrier-Jouët assembled an international community of creative talents called Artisans of the Wild, who embody this unique energy. From a range of creative fields – including art, design, fashion, gastronomy and hospitality – they share the same values as the House and form a dialogue with it, as well as each of their respective domains all over the world.
As an Artisan of the Wild, Akrame Benallal has channelled his unique, daring vision of gastronomy into creating food pairings for each of Maison Perrier-Jouët’s distinct cuvées, for each season. These exclusive recipes present a palate of flavours as subtle and intricate as the champagnes they accompany. A lifelong lover of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque cuvées, the chef feels harmony with the House, where everything that drives him both personally and professionally is present: passion, family spirit, the appreciation and communication of artisanal savoir-faire, as well as art and nature as primary sources of inspiration.
Before becoming an Artisan of the Wild, Akrame Benallal already had links with the House. Two years prior, he participated in the Japan launch of the Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs cuvée. In collaboration with Hervé Deschamps, he presented an utterly original gourmet experience and champagne service. He made the most of his visit to Hong Kong by joining Hervé Deschamps in tasting two exceptional champagnes: Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2006 – the most emblematic cuvée of the House, representing the quintessence of its style – and Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2012 – the most iconic cuvée, celebrating the House’s art of vintage and the excellence of its vineyard.