Bistro de Margot, Burlington, Vermont

Chef Hervé Mahé brings 30 plus years of experience in the culinary arts to Bistro de Margot. Born and raised in France, he trained at the prestigious Ferrandi School of the French Culinary Arts (Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Française) in Paris and at some of the finest restaurants in Europe, Canada and the United States.

According to Chef Mahé, "My grandmother, Marguerite, was known to her family and friends by her nickname Margot. She passed away this past spring (2015) at the age of 100, just months before I had the pleasure of opening my restaurant. She was mother to nine children, of which my mother was the third daughter. She was talented and adept in the kitchen, creating meals that were both of high quality and could feed her large family. Before it was fashionable, she was a foodie and localvore, harvesting fruits and vegetables from her own garden for her kitchen and table. I still remember the aromas and flavors of her recipes that she concocted on the fly, inspired only by her intuition and especially by her desire to please her family."

His escargot de Bourgogne (Burgundy snails) are immersed in parsley-garlic butter and served with fried potato balls and slivers of radish. The escargots are to be fished out of the mini-pools of butter sauce in which they’re served, each snail in its own little cast-iron cup. They come with bread sliced in spears, the optimal shape for reaching into the cups and sopping up sauce.

As a young student-chef, Bistro de Margot owner Hervé Mahé trained at France’s elite Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Française. Then he spent 30 years honing his skills at Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, London, and Seattle. In Burlington, he carefully crafts each dish—from an exquisite foie gras torchon to a pan-seared cod filet—in a way that’s refined yet approachable.

Mahe, 47, began his restaurant life at age 14, when he left home to attend culinary school during the week, returning to his family on weekends. It was a three-year program in which students learned cooking and front-of-the house management.

”In France, they ask you super early what you want to do,” Mahe said. “For me, I wanted to travel, and what job allows you to travel — restaurant and hotel. It served me well, I lived all over the place.”

He was gratified, too, by the focus of the work.

“I love eating,” Mahe said. “I like whatever is going around the table, the person you’re with. If there is something that doesn’t go well, that is not right, it kind of ruins the whole thing.”

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