It was in 1975 that Maurice, Jacques Barnachon’s father, bought these plots recovering this enchanting domain. His project started immediately growing in his mind at two levels: the dream of establishing here a hotel-restaurant, what he hardly believed could ever come true, and the immediate possible one which he started at once.
Loving nature as much as respecting it, having a pragmatic knowledge of it, he is perfectly aware that it mustn’t be damaged by any means. With this perception and precautions he undertakes, in 1976, the water delivery in the pond, and the consequently laying out. This way, he doubles its surface. The main pond was opened to the old ones and the two small lakes up-stream were fit up in the abandoned peat extraction holes
The dryness in 1976 was just perfect for starting the work, and Maurice Barnachon took advantage on this weather conditions entrusting the task to a company of the Côte d’Or which, in a month and a half, carried out the planned openings.
The Hut Adventure
At a moment he goes into the frog’s farming. He set himself the task of the arrangement of his pond in order to open it to carp, gardons and tanches fishing. He creates a fishing contest and the public shows up enthusiastically.The expected results are confirmed.
Maurice Barnachon keeps on taking advantage on the licence IV he got. He builds a modest hut by the pond, let’s say, a rustic bar in an open shelter.
The crowd grows around the fishing contests ending in the hut cosy and cordial ambiance. This one has got two spaces, one is the bar the other one is the restaurant.
The cooking is made in the heart of the restaurant room under the guests eyes. Rustic menus are served according to the place and its customs: fried carp, perche, eperlan, grilled chicken and, of course, the sausage and the ham smoked in the near tuyes.
But Maurice Barnachon is not a dreamer, he has got his feet on land but he is aware of the fact that the hut doesn’t. He needs, by all means, to concentrate in the old farm and to go back, at all costs, to the initial project, in order to settle a real inn. Since 1978 he had been in the quest of the construction license to build the hotel. He needed a for years appliance to get to a radical solution: the farm destruction and the starting up of the construction of a new building to welcome a restaurant and a hotel.
Maurice Barnachon has finished the demolishion and the clearing of the old farm. He immediately undertakes the foundations and the construction of the building. The opening took place on the 5th of April 1985. In June 1985 a second room for bankets was opened and two months later the family celebrates the hotel inauguration.
Where the Children renew the parent’s passion
In 1987, Jacques Barnachon starts devoting himself to the culinary art. He goes into apprenticeship in the Hotel de France at Villers le Lac where he would entry the game of mastering the special tricks under the supervision, firstly and for twenty four months, of the owner, Yves Droz-Bartholet, and next, under his son’s Hugues, for four months. He comes out with very good basis on the kitchen organisation, with marvellous souvenirs and with strong ties of friendship between him and his young master. « Le France » closes inWinter time and Jacques takes the opportunity at Villier le Lac to practicing with the baker pastry cook Jean-Luc Viennet with whom he learns the best way to succed on baking bread.
After a training course at Philippe Groult’s in Paris, he takes the opportunity of going on a trip to Thailand together with his friend Hugues. He comes back being nineteen years old, fascinated by this special cuisine, and with one only decisive idea in his mind: the culinary art as any other art is up to be reinvented. He pursues his training with the magnificent chef Jean-Pierre Silva who gets two stars in the Michelin in Boilland near Beaune. He starts penetrating the gastronomic arcanes. He discovers the science of a very pure cuisine at the franc taste and clever combinations. He starts his work in brigade where each one has a precise role following strict rules. The chef prepares his menus and the second chef supervises the work at its different stages.
When he gets back to his place at The Etang du Moulin he doesn’t share his relative’s look. The kitchen equipment looks obsolete to him and the service ham-salad-chips drives him into despair. But the affair turned out to be at the most reassuring basis: a loyal clientele. He builds up his dream on the reality, starting from the very beginning: occupying himself on conceiving a kitchen equipment which could complying with the needs of the gastronomy he intends to put into practice. This experience will last for two years time. En 1994, Sandrine and Jacques concentrate themselves on a cautious choice of the gastronomic menu. The clients decrease to half, but the turnover is the same. They had to wait for two years to assert that this was the right decision to take.
The choice of Excellence
LThe success didn’t slow down Jacques’s perfectionism desire. His wish is to improve his knowledge on the practise of the pastry-cooking in order to better harmonise the corresponding tastes of his menus. Again, at this point, he knows what he wants and he reaches his goals by interceding with his aunt, « Tata Georgette », who puts him in connection with Philippe Gobet. This one was, at that time, the chef pastry-cook at the famous restaurant at Poincaré street, 3 stars at Michelin, managed by Joel Rebuchon. The master of that place doesn’t accept trainees, but Philippe Gobet has got the power: Jacques was admitted.
In 1993, he had already got the first prize at the roast-cooks contest for the Doubs, and the second one for the Franche-Comté. In 1996 he gets a first mention in the Michelin Guide with two forks. From 1996 to 2000, Jacques had had the opportunity of participating in two cuisine and pastry cooking courses at Lenôtre school in Plaisir.
From the Kitchen … to the laurel
Next comes the harvest. Its young chief bustles about making singing his performing kitchen tools and devotes himself, in a quiet spirit, to the creative liberty of his passion for the pleasure of the gourmets authenticity lovers.
However, Jacques Barnachon didn’t fold himself over the exploitation of his success. On the contrary, being aware of his experience, he revives with the big master’s tradition and nobility, to whom the gastronomic art wouldn’t go up to its dignified levels if it wasn’t shared and transmitted to others. Grateful to his masters, he takes a great pleasure on surrounding himself with apprentices
The participation of the chief of the Etang du Moulin is not limited to restaurant traditional institutions, it is also attached to the associations that work for a better food quality, such as Euro-Toques, being its representative for the Franche-Comté.
The fascinating adventure of Barnachon family through the Etang du Moulin doesn’t lay down on the routine. Jacques blossoming career makes us guess how much his passion hatches projects up, which, for the time being, belong but to himself. Sandrine Boissenin, his sister, maintains for her part, the Shelter time nostalgia not to mature, no matter how, a project of reinventing it. If there was the case, the story I’ve just related would get to its fully unity.
Texts and pictures extracted from The Book dedicated to Jacques Barnachon