Jordan Billan has been working at Le Cèdre for the past five years, first as a sous-chef. He was promoted to Executive Chef in June 2019. He has built a team that is motivated and ready to accept any challenge. Jordan’s philosophy has always been to create a friendly working atmosphere using local and seasonal products.
Tell us about your background?
My parents have always worked in the hospitality industry; they settled in Burgundy about 20 years ago. I learned a lot from them and had the opportunity to meet many professionals in the region such as producers or hoteliers. It has been a real asset at the beginning of my career to have such a big network of artisans. I started working with renowned chefs such as Franck Schmitt, who taught me the basics of traditional French cuisine. I also gained a lot of knowledge from Stephane Derbord, who shared his passion for “terroir” and his respect for the raw materials he uses when I was working in his Dijon’s restaurant.
What did you think of Le Cèdre before you joined the team?
Le Cèdre is a reference in Burgundy, famous for its reputation as one of the best and most welcoming hotels in the region. From day one, I felt like I was part of a big project with an ambitious team. I arrived when the hotel obtained its 5th star and the restaurant had its first Michelin star.
What are your goals for the restaurant?
I was raised with the ideology that “local is best”. For me, it was obvious to strengthen the relationship with local Burgundian producers, to meet them, but also to instill this value in my team. I want the staff to thoroughly understand the importance of this concept and to recognize the work that goes into producing the raw ingredients. I also want guests to see it on their plates and for it to become the signature of the restaurant.
How would you describe your way of working?
To me, it’s important that everybody working on the team feels included and develops a natural team spirit. If employees feel good, then our guests will have the same perception. When I was promoted to Executive Chef, my first mission was to hire staff for the cuisine but also train them and give them the desire to share our values. I wanted everybody in my kitchen to be knowledgeable, and I did this by sharing my passion and kind spirit. The well-being of our employees is the key to success for our establishment. Our guests sense it, and it allows them to feel like home.
Your favorite food & wine pairing?
At home, I like simple things, for example, a beautiful piece of beef or veal sweetbreads. Raw, it is not appealing, but once cooked with a bit of butter, garlic and some thyme from the garden, it won’t last in the plate. I serve them with oven-baked potatoes on the side, and that’s all there is to it. I love the Meursault 2018 from Famille Carabello-Baum combined with white asparagus served lukewarm or cold along with an orange sabayon and an excellent ham. I am also a fan of pigeon, which I happily pair with the Echezeaux Grand Cru 2018. Lastly, any chocolate dessert would be enhanced by the Nuits-Saint-Georges 2018.
Are your ambitions linked to the ones of Le Cèdre?
I am a young chef, and it was vital for me to give the best of myself from day one and for the ten first years of my career. I have always been ambitious, and that is what got me at this position today. I learned from the best, and now my challenge is to mark my personality in my cuisine and define my culinary identity. I also want to continue building a strong team that I can count on while working with locals. Whenever it’s possible, I take someone working with me to meet the producers to initiate them to the “savoir-faire”. I share my philosophy and my values with the establishment I work for, and it is priceless.