FRANCOIS DELAHAYE, MARCH 24th, 2021
Monsieur François Delahaye
Chief Operating Officer
GM Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris
The fictional hero you wish you had been?
James Bond! I love James Bond
What would be the title of your autobiography?
I'm not planning on making one but if I had to write one it would be "The Life of an Innkeeper"
Someone among your friends who symbolizes French elegance in your eyes?
Inès de la Fressange! I find that she is the person who most represents French elegance
The most memorable dinner you have attended?
Martell, the oldest of the grand Cognac Houses’ 300th anniversary spectacular celebration at the Château de Versailles. We first had a glass of champagne on the Château's terrace while the Patrouille de France gave a flight demonstration exclusively for us. It was absolutely mind blowing! Then, we had dinner at L’Orangerie. The menu was prepared by Paul Pairet, the Michelin-starred chef of Ultraviolet restaurant in Shanghai. During the dinner, there was a projection of images on all the walls which made us live an intense moment: while we were eating truffle and at the same time, we were watching a video that was making us pass from the soil and the oaks then to the truffles that the dogs were finding out… Fifteen dishes were served to us with beautiful wines. Then, the dinner ended with a fireworks display ... It is the most magical dinner I have ever attended.
An accessory that never leaves you?
A jacket ! I always wear a jacket. I find important for a man to wear a jacket. Even when I go on vacation to the Maldives, I put on a jacket even if it is a very light one… I think a man must have a certain elegance, I hate when people wear T-shirts.
A character trait that defines you?
I like to help! people I love it when people call to ask me a favor
Your well-being secret?
I try not to drink too much alcohol, it's very complicated, but drinking too much is not good for me. I try to be careful to what I eat because I love to eat. I practice sport with a coach ... Yes, I have little tips to avoid aging too quickly ...
If I want to invite you for dinner, what dish can you not resist?
I am very eclectic! I love Japanese food and love heavy family dishes like veal blanquette and beef bourguignon. I don’t like gourmet cooking when it’s too much fuss.
The worst table neighbor you've ever had?
It's hard to say because I have a very specific point of view. I'll tell you an anecdote where I had dinner 2 nights in a row at the same restaurant. It was Robuchon's restaurant, 59 avenue Raymond Poincarré in Paris. The first night, we were with my wife and a travel agent named Bill Fischer who is not really a funny man. Finally, I had prepared myself so much for the evening to be dreadful that the dinner went quite well and was even nice...
The next night, we went back to the same place with my wife and had the same menu and this time, we were with my step dad and step mom. My wife spoke of inheritance and I have terrible memories of this moment. The worst dinner of my life!
I would say my worst table neighbors are people who don't like to eat.
I attended several dinners at the Quai d'Orsay including one with very demanding people sitting next to me for who everything was an issue! They ate out of plastic bowls leaving on the side their porcelain plates. I must say that this dinner was a bit complicated for me to manage as a neighbor. Indeed, we were in a stunning place at the heart of the French art de vivre since it was with the Colbert Committee, the women were in long dresses and the men in tuxedos, everything was very beautiful and there were these people next to me who ruined the charming atmosphere.
Do you live in a glitter world?
Yes, absolutely sometimes and it is part of my job! but, I have a wife and children who reset me well in the evening when I get home. I'm not freaking out either, thanks to them! Also, I have teams that I let speak and they express themselves freely. Just because I had lunch with Laurent Fabius