Ingenious inventor, perfectionist, connoisseur – Ettore Bugatti possessed many extraordinary talents and abilities, which he not only transformed into his world-famous cars. Throughout his life, the founder of the French luxury automobile brand dedicated his energy to all kinds of design ideas – which included not only automobiles but also aeroplanes, boats and numerous technical devices. His passions included animal breeding and the culinary arts, too.
A lover of the finer things and quality living, Bugatti kept his own horses and chickens, invented his own pasta machine and created a special table service, including his own cutlery. Each item bore an “EB” crest and was ergonomically perfect in the hand.
Ettore Bugatti loved cooking. He tested and refined recipes, organised his kitchen staff and placed great emphasis on table decoration, which was unusual for his time. Instead of flowers, he used opulent baskets of exotic fruits – a symbol of luxury and sophistication. He recorded his instructions for decorations and table-setting arrangements in the form of sketches and detailed drawings.
The food he served his guests reflected passion, a love of adventure and philosophy – just like a ride in a Bugatti. And indeed, Bugatti’s dishes were unique, prepared close to perfection and of high quality – just like his automobiles.
For the Christmas season Ettore created a very special menu which he always prepared especially for his guests.
Starter – Minestrone à la Ettore Bugatti
Ingredients (for four)
Shallots, spring onions, celery, leek, potatoes, fennel, carrots, runner beans, courgettes, 125 g each
Vegetable stock, 1250 ml
Chives, 50 g
Parsley, 50 g
Rosemary, 25 g
Thyme, 10 g
Oregano, 10 g
Diced tomatoes, 100 g
Salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar
Finely chop the shallots, sauté in olive oil and add vegetable stock – simmer at a low temperature. Cut the potatoes and add to the stock, simmer for 5 minutes. Add the finely chopped vegetables, cook for another 3-5 minutes and add the herbs. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and a teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar. Serve the minestrone in soup bowls and sprinkle with the diced tomatoes and parsley.
Main course – Glazed breast of duck with truffle purée and cassis sauce
Ingredients (for two)
2 small duck breasts, 150 g each. Honey 85 g
Potatoes, 250 g
Cream, 35 g
Butter, 15 g
Truffle oil, 3 g
Black truffle, 10 g
Red port, 150 ml
Cassis liqueur, 50ml
Red onion, half
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
Sear the duck breasts in olive oil on both sides, then bake in the oven for about 8 minutes at 130°C. Boil the potatoes until soft and press them through a potato ricer while still hot, then fold in the butter and cream and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the truffle oil. For the sauce, peel the onions and cut into fine rings. Sauté in olive oil and deglaze with port wine and cassis liqueur. Reduce the sauce over a slow heat until creamy, add the butter. Arrange the duck breast and other ingredients attractively on a plate and grate the black truffles over the purée.
Dessert – Strawberry gratin
Ingredients (for four)
Strawberries, 500 g
Cream, 250 g
Milk, 100 g
Egg yolk, 4
Sugar, 50 g
Brown sugar, 35 g
Half a vanilla pod
Mint leaves for garnishing
Wash and slice the strawberries, divide the slices between four glasses. Bring the cream and milk to a boil together with the sugar and vanilla pod. Once boiled, mix some of the milk cream with the egg yolk and then add it to the rest of the boiling cream. Stirring constantly leave on the stove top for one minute,. Pour the cream mixture over the strawberries, sprinkle with the brown sugar and place in the oven for 10 minutes at 240°C top and bottom heat. To serve, place the glasses on saucers and garnish with the mint leaves.
Bugatti initiated the founding of a fine dining restaurant
To his great regret, Ettore Bugatti was not always able to serve each of his guests in the way he would have wished. In order to receive his customers in befitting style, he asked his friends Lucien Weissenburger, Charles Spindler and René Lalique to design an exclusive, extraordinary restaurant about 100 years ago. The result was the restaurant “Clos Sainte Odile”, which later became “La Fourchette des Ducs” in Obernai, Alsace. Weissenburger owned a winery in the Vosges, Spindler was a writer, draughtsman, painter, photographer and expert in marquetry, and Lalique was one of the leading art deco and art nouveau glass and jewellery artists at the time and founder of a luxury goods company that bore his name. In the decades that followed, they created an exclusive place to meet and enjoy fine dining – which is still in existence to this day.
Even today, centuries of history and art embrace guests as they enjoy the menus of two-star chef, Nicolas Stamm. Awarded two stars in the Guide Michelin and a member of the Grandes Tables du Monde, La Fourchette des Ducs is highly renowned and steeped in history.
In winter, Serge Schaal, director of “La Fourchettes des Ducs” and Nicolas Stamm, welcome their guests in a room with works by artist Marc Petit – always following in the footsteps of Ettore Bugatti. The 16-seat restaurant is fully dedicated to its guests, indulging them with hospitality, attention and special arrangements. A harmonious blend of crystals and Spindler’s marquetry brings to life the glorious past of this historic building dating back to the 1920s, which was chosen by Ettore Bugatti as a place to welcome his guests. The spirit of Ettore Bugatti hovers over the fine dining here – and has done so for more than 100 years.