Jean-Marc Lemmery, the Executive Chef of Le Planteur, began his culinary journey, as many of the world’s best chefs do, by washing plates in a kitchen. The fact that he chose to do this at the age of 39 having had a successful career in physiotherapy is perhaps unusual. However within a few years, his hard work, dedication and desire to learn paid off when he was awarded a Michelin star at his own restaurant, Le Bistrot de l’Alycastre.
There aren’t many Michelin star Chefs in Yangon, and the Michelin guide is yet to discover Myanmar. But having completed their explorations of Thailand last year, it can only be a matter of time before the red book reviewers are investigating the fine dining scene here. When they do eventually come, they will most certainly be paying very close attention to the menu presented by Chef Lemmery at Le Planteur.
Le Planteur, of course, needs no explanation or introduction. Since Boris pioneered fine dining French cuisine in Yangon over 20 years ago, Le Planteur has been the benchmark upon which many have measured themselves. The restaurant has moved twice in that time, before settling in its current beautiful location on Inya Lake. It hasn’t always been plain sailing though, and they have had their ups and downs over the years, though there have been more ups than downs, and they’ve survived through many times of uncertainty. With Chef Jean-Marc Lemmery firmly established at the kitchen pass, the restaurant is back to its best, and some would say they have never been better.
Since joining Le Planteur in 2017, Chef Lemmery has been instrumental in the transformation of their offering, and although his most significant influence has been through the design and the exquisite preparation of his menus, his extensive industry experience and knowledge, and desire for excellence can be seen and felt in the front of house areas too. There is a new energy and vibrancy to the service that had seemed to go missing a few years ago. Gone is the starched and stuffy waiters, the atmosphere is lighter, the ambience refreshing, the staff seem more friendly and welcoming, but they are every bit as attentive and professional as they always have been.
The menu at Le Planter is interesting, classically French, but there are flashes of inspiration, and hints of Asia and Myanmar shine through many of the dishes. There is almost a sense of experimental dynamism in some of the flavours, and in his own words, the menu at Le Planteur is just as beautiful but “less boring” than perhaps it had been in previous years. It is clear that Chef Lemmery is not afraid to take risks with his cuisine, push the boundaries with his combinations and be more, as he says, “dangerous”. Le Planteur has always been respected for their beautiful presentation, they are now being noted for their more modern approach to fine dining or “bistronomic” as Chef Lemmery calls it
As is the case every year, the Myanmore Dining and Nightlife Chef of the year award is a close run race. However, there are only a handful of chefs in the country who are at the top of their game and consistently performing at the best of their ability, and Chef Lemmery has been so instrumental in the transformation of Le Planteur that he has definitely earned his award. Congratulations Chef!