Carte Blanche with Laurent Haller

Creative seasonal cuisine

Located in the heart of the charming town of Rixheim, the restaurant Le 7ème Continent has been attracting gourmets and lovers of good food for many years. Nestled in an elegant and refined setting, this restaurant offers an unforgettable culinary experience, combining creativity, quality and impeccable service.

In 2015, Le 7ème Continent restaurant reached a remarkable milestone in its culinary history by earning a Michelin star, a prestigious accolade in the world of gastronomy. This star testifies to the excellence of the restaurant’s cuisine and service, as well as its ongoing commitment to quality and innovation.

Le 7ème Continent’s menu is a veritable gustatory voyage, showcasing the finest local and seasonal produce. The passionate and talented chef concocts dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious, subtly blending flavors and textures to offer a unique culinary experience with every bite. Whether for a business lunch, romantic dinner or special celebration, every dish is prepared with care and attention to detail.

We were delighted to entrust Laurent Haller with the Carte Blanche for issue 12 of food&good magazine (July 2024).

There are encounters that make you who you are, professionally and personally. Many have given me the chance to take off as a chef, but also as a man. Among them, I am infinitely grateful to one woman and two men in particular.

My Mum.

I didn’t realize until recently how lucky I’d been to be immersed in her know-how, having studied at the hotel school. As well as my grandmother’s, who used to cook whole dishes, as they are no longer made, for events, communions and so on. At home, we were entitled to profes- sional service, and we owned a nourishing field, which enabled us to make up jars for the year.
It was in this context that, at the age of 6, I built my first floating island, all by myself. It’s a memory we’ll never forget, since we’ve revisited it in the restaurant: a beautiful floating island poached in the dining room by our waiters, who are as dedicated and dedicated as our cooks.

Bernard Leray.
I met him by chance in 1991. At the time, I was a commis de cuisine at Château de Teildras in Maine-et-Loire, and he was the youngest Michelin-starred chef in France. After just one season in Brittany under his wing, he landed me a priceless position with Bernard Loiseau, an icon of French gastronomy, in Saulieu. Working with them inevitably changes the way we think about gastronomy, particularly in terms of our relationship with raw materials and the way we behave in the kitchen.

Maître Michel Labbe.
A lawyer at the Paris bar, he was also an unexpected encounter. His well-measured business vision enabled me to launch and develop my business in a perilous context, when I was a young father.

In 2001, with his support and the help of my wife Stéphanie, I opened my first restaurant, ” Le Petit Prince “, on the Habsheim airfield. Looking back, this establishment undeniably served as a laboratory for experimentation, which continued to awaken my curiosity for blends and allowed me to embody my signature style. You’ve got to learn! In fact, a year and a half later, our work was rewarded with a Michelin star.
As chance often does! You have to let yourself be guided and enjoy yourself. I always tell my students at the hotel school: if you’re in pain, you have to jump ship.

In 2009, I opened ” Le 7e Continent ” in a pretty house with painted facades in Rixheim. This gourmet restaurant and event venue has been imagined as the 7th continent of flavors. It’s a place of self-expression where I don’t restrict myself to anything, and where I try to honor French technique and world cuisines, particularly because I’m passionate about spices and blends. Overall, I remain focused on innovative fusion cuisine, always in season, that celebrates dishes from increasingly short supply chains. Furthermore, thanks to the Michelin star, I can impose my own style, and for example, offer only one menu. Customers come for the soul of the place and the culinary language of the chef, and it has to be said that the star reassures them.

I’m a cooking bulimic! I never make the same dish twice. In 8 years, we’ve developed nearly 120 different themes for our menu, with a common thread that allows me to express myself fully and develop new accords.

I proceed as follows: the basic product, the accompaniment and the artifice. Since one product often dominates the others, we could offer three different dishes with the same three products, while maintaining a harmony of flavors. Nothing is set in stone!

However, I’m not really the master of the game. The season and the climate guide the menus. I work intuitively. As a true lover of produce, I rely on what the pickers, gardeners and breeders bring me: Ferme Roellinger, Roland Freyburger, Ferme D’ysengrain, Le Pré Aux Colimaçons, Théo Kieffer, and Distillerie La Grange, to name but a few. It’s essential to know the origin, quality and seasonality of products to get the best out of them.

On the other hand, I try to vary the pleasures as much as possible. But, once again, there’s no need to force yourself, because every week, every season, every year, and even every decade, will independently have its own set of flavors, which will never be the same. So nature and what it has to offer are a never-ending source of inspiration.

I’m not very media-friendly, and I’m not up to date on social networking, but I’m not short of ideas! In fact, I certainly bring to my hotel school students another way of approaching cooking these days.

To tell the truth, I’m not very confident about the quality of gastronomy, which is becoming increasingly elitist. We’re going the wrong way. There are fewer and fewer small bistros with fresh produce, and junk food is king.

Behind an older generation of chefs who have done damage to the restaurant industry’s image, we remain the guarantors of French gastronomy. Young people find it very hard to work, even though working hours, wages and conditions have improved significantly. Because our professions are a real social elevator, I hope they have fun and enjoy themselves, while striking a balance with the rigor and exacting standards that remain essential. Thanks to this, gastronomy will continue to endure, provided it is less selective, unconditional and open to all.

At 52, I still have a visceral desire to carry on!

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