Romand Fournier, a perfect match

Publication date 29 November 2022,

Career
Romand grew up in Jura, in the vineyards, and got to know the world of wine in his family. He naturally opted to study at a hotel school and specialised as a sommelier or wine steward. Following the judicious advice of one of his teachers, he chose to begin his career in the kitchens. Understanding the basics of cuisine would help him to get a better grasp of his job as a wine waiter. Romand worked in a number of restaurants before settling in La Clusaz as a result of various encounters. He fell in love with the resort and has now been living here for almost 20 years. After working at Le Relais de l’Aiguille, he became joint owner of L'Écuelle until taking over Le Chalet des Joux in 2018.
 
Nestled below L'Etale mountain, this little piece of paradise will delight fans of good things, beauty and local produce... and above all wine-lovers!
 
"We're here to give customers what they don't have time to prepare at home."

 
Our aim is to satisfy a range of different customers: people who are here to ski, people who want to have a quick lunch without spending too much money and people who come just to share a good meal, for whom skiing is almost a pretext. Entertaining guests is important for us and that involves giving the same welcome to someone who has lunch in 1 hour and to guests who will spend over 3 hours at the dining table.
 
We believe we must provide our customers with a service. A day in the resort is an experience in its own right. Customers buy a ski package which includes the restaurant, and they must be given a warm welcome.
 
So at Le Chalet des Joux, we only serve fresh, non-processed dishes made on the premises. We use no processed ingredients, apart from pasta, which we buy dry. So on our menu we have simple and accessible dishes: a house bolognaise pasta, for example. At the same time, I might serve salmon trout, smoked just in front of the customer, or grilled pluma pork.
 
We sometimes serve traditional dishes, but always made with innovative recipes. And most of all our aim is for our customers to enjoy themselves. We provide them with our know-how, what they don't know how to do or have no time to do. For me, this is why people go to a restaurant.
I don't serve Savoyard cheese-based dishes deliberately. But I do serve dishes with local cheeses, for example cheeses made by Bruno Agnellet, whose cows graze here peacefully in front of the restaurant in summer. I have a cheese cellar where I leave the Reblochon to mature.
 


Do you change your menu?
There are some essentials that are always there, but yes, I change the dishes in line with the seasons. In summer, I work in the garden. Rather than flowers, I plant things that can come in handy! I prefer vegetables that make an impact when they come out of the earth. A freshly picked green bean is something magical! I use them a lot. I grow strawberries, they grow here later in the year. Plus aromatic plants... Freshly cut mint transforms a mojito.
 
What is there to drink, in fact?
 We have a great wine list, wine was my first love, I'm a sommelier. I like to serve wines that customers can't buy because the winemaker doesn't sell them. Since I first worked as a wine waiter, I have of course discovered a number of wines and wineries. I have tasted and chosen all the wines in my cellar at the winemakers'.
 
The world of wine is a small world, so when I am looking for a particular wine, there is always someone ready to recommend a specific winemaker. That's what is really great! We have too many different wines already, but we are never against including a new wine.
 
How can people learn how to choose a wine?
 First of all, you should know that you can never make a mistake. If you are at the restaurant with friends, with people you love, and you choose a good dish and a wine you enjoy, then you will never make a mistake. You have everything you like. There's no need necessarily to drink THE wine that goes with your dish. And if you don't know what to drink, then you can always ask the wine waiter!
 
What is a wine that always goes down well?
 Chénas by Thillardon: a dynamic organic Beaujolais, a truly natural wine. It makes an impact, it always goes down well. It's very light, ideal for lunchtime. It's very drinkable, doesn't contain too much alcohol (between 12 and 12.5%, depending on the year). You can drink it without knocking yourself out, and my customers are never disappointed.
 
Is there a wine for all occasions?
 I would say that wine depends on the conditions. Wines vary according to the moon, the weather, the altitude. There are days when a particular wine will be great and others less so. For red wines, for example, depending on the moon, they will not always be quite so amazing. Using an application (Red Wine, for example), you can find out whether it will be a good day for a wine, depending on whether it is fruit day, a root day or a flower day: it depends on the moon. That doesn't mean you can't drink it on the other days, of course. It just explains why, depending on the day, you might especially enjoy a wine.
 
The weather also has an influence. In bad weather the wine will be "closed", and when it is sunny, during an anticyclone, the higher pressure will open up the wine's aromas.
 
And in the mountains, the altitude also has an impact on wines:
- When you take a white wine higher in altitude, it is excellent in the next few days or even hours. It opens up completely!
- Red wines: altitude adds extra gas (what you feel as a sparkle in your mouth). They will be excellent in the first week, then less so, and might not be good to drink for 1, 2 or 3 months, depending on the quality.

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