Posts Tagged ‘Jean-Claude Dufour’

Ever Wonder Why Our St Barth Properties-USA Concierge Knows How to Personalize and Enhance Your St Barth Vacation Experience?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Today’s blog is written by our amazing SBP-USA office concierge, Julia Hurd who has been with the Company since 2007. For those of you who have traveled with us in the past, you know how perfectly Julia assists you with any extra service you may desire. For those of you who have yet to book their St. Barth vacation with St. Barth Properties, you are in for a treat. Here is how Julia keeps on top of things for you. Enjoy.

Sunny regards,
Peg

Julia’s Trip Report St. Barth May 2018

It has been a year and a hurricane since I have been to the island of St. Barth, so I was very excited to see how the island and my colleagues have been doing along with the friends I have made since I have been with St. Barth Properties. I set off from Boston on a JetBlue direct flight into San Juan with my coworker Allegra Pawlowski, a St. Barth Properties Villa and Hotel Specialist. Now, here is the funny part, anyone who knows me is very aware of my fear of flying, so I have never in the 11 years of working as the St. Barth concierge ever flown on Tradewind Aviation. Yes folks, that is correct I always fly into SXM and take Winair, St. Barth Commuter or one of the ferries, Voyager or Great Bay Express, The ferry being my first choice.

Well, after a stern talking to myself, I decided I would give it a try. We arrived into San Juan and we were met by a Tradewind Aviation VIP Service agent who took us right to the Tradewind Aviation lounge to relax, have a cold drink and snack while the agent retrieved our bags and got us both checked in – what a breeze. I highly recommend the additional cost of $150.00 for this service; there is no additional charge if you are a party of one or eight.

I met Tom, one of the Tradewind Aviation pilots, in their VIP Lounge.

Once the plane was ready for takeoff, they let me board first and pick a seat I felt comfortable in. Tom, one of the pilots, was so kind and often looked back to make sure I was ok. I have to be honest I am mad it took me this long to fly Tradewind Aviation; it was such a smooth flight on the aircraft, a Pilatus PC-12, an 8 seater providing two pilots, a pressurized cabin, AC, cold drinks and snacks. I was NOT going to look out the window on my inaugural flight, so I got to watch 2 episodes of a 30 min show on my iPad. One hour later I was in St. Barth not even realizing we had landed. Two thumbs up to the crew and Tradewind Aviation for making this the best first-time experience ever.

We arrived and went to our SBP booth where we picked up our rental cars at Gumbs Car Rentals. We said hello to Odile who kindly lets us share the booth with her; Our greeter Romain was there to escort us to our villa L’Adrech and treated us just as if we were clients of SBP. Allegra will tell you all about this gorgeous villa in Peg’s next Guest Blog detailing her trip report.

The first night we ate at Les Bananiers; Aurélie Janvier, our St. Barth office Concierge, and Laura Commaret our St. Barth office Villa Rental Specialist, surprised us by walking in. We all had dinner together; it was great fun catching up.

I love working with St. Barth Properties-St. Barth Concierge Aurélie Janvier.

The Royal Wedding happened to be taking place that Saturday, May 19th. I thought it would be fun to arrange a Chef Lunch at the villa for our island staff along with some Tiara’s and Top Hats. We had Pascal, of Pascal Cook, one of the wonderful chefs we use on-island, prepare a Royal Feast.

Royal Lunch at Villa L’Adrech L to R- Laura, Allegra, Pascale, Me-Julia, Nadine, Romain and Benoit.

Pascal the Chef

I was lucky to be able to spend time with Aurélie our island Concierge, as we speak daily and work very closely together. It was wonderful to be able to spend every day doing new things and dining out at all the great restaurants that St. Barth has to offer.

We dined at:

fishCorner is only open for lunch; they sell freshly-caught fish daily from 8:30am to 12:00pm then again from 3:30pm to 6:00pm; they are open 12:00pm to 3:00pm for lunch and are located in Gustavia in the alley by the Bar de L’ Oubli. I had the Fish and Chips and the most amazing Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert. I went back twice just for the pie. I even contacted the pastry chef Margaux Bellorgey and asked if I could have the recipe. NO SUCH LUCK, I will have to meet her next time; maybe she will allow me to be her assistant and we can make it together.

fishCorner Fish n Chips

The Lemon Pie at fishCorner is out of this world.

L’Esprit, located in Saline, Jean Claude DuFour is the owner and chef, such a great meal wonderful to see him and his staff. Ociela located in Gustavia has a wonderful view; it just so happened that Soley the musician was singing there that evening, which was a wonderful treat. Bagatelle located in Gustavia -always a wonderful time; 25 Quarter was also a great spot; we visited the new Rum Room after dinner and had a rum tasting, it was amazing. So many rums from all over the world.

25 Quarter’s fantastic Rum Room.

L’Isoletta was a restaurant I have never been able to fit into my schedule but this trip Aurélie and I made a point to have lunch; we had pizza, a salad, dessert and coffee for 20 euro pp – can’t beat that price. It was delish. Located on the upper road in Gustavia.

Aurélie devoured the pizza combo at L’Isoletta.

My Berry Ricotta dessert at L’Isoletta was very good.

We also were able to spend a day at the hotel Manapany pool and have a wonderful lunch; we toured the Spa and some suites at the hotel. What a tough job I have.

The Manapany is on Anse des Cayes Beach.

You can have lunch by Manapany’s main pool or use the adults-only pool at their spa.

Tamarin located in Saline – what a great restaurant. I love Heart Rocks and collect them in my travels, I simply fell in love with the one in the lily pond. I wish it fit in my luggage. The dinner was fantastic, everyone was happy and the tables where full. What a delightful night.

Here is Tamarin’s heart rock in one their lily ponds.

Allegra and I loved dining at the Tamarin.

I also wanted to try the St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic and some of the other activities that we offer, so we arranged a Beach Picnic with Chef XO Christophe and a lesson with Cyril Reymann to try the Seabobs. The St. Barth Properties Beach Picnic lunch was set up on Shell Beach as our lesson was there. The food from Christophe was outstanding as always, it was a pleasure to see him and one of his helpers. I highly recommend the SBP Beach Picnic; simply contact me and I will arrange everything for you. It was a great day. The Seabob was so much fun. You must try it!

Try the St, Barth Properties Beach Picnic next time you go to St. Barth.

While we were picnicing on Shell Beach, Allegra and I had a blast learning how to swim with the Seabob.

One item on my bucket list was to have a massage at a villa and boy oh boy was I one lucky and happy lady. It seems being a concierge can be stressful at times, believe it or not. So what other choice did I have but to have a massage? Allegra and I moved to the beautiful and very private Villa Le Diamant in St. Jean. (All of us at SBP love to experience the Villa Lifestyle just the way you do so that we can give you first-hand knowledge of the accommodation.) Nadine from Venus Institute set up her table poolside and within minutes I was in heaven. I can’t think of anything better to arrange for you than a fabulous massage to help you relax.

Nadine from Venus Spa came to our Villa Diamant to give me an excellent in-villa massage.

Nadine was fantastic. Venus Institute is a wonderful Spa in Gustavia that has many services from hair, makeup, mani, pedi, massages and so many more services, simply contact me at juliahurd@stbarth.com and I will give you all the details. In-villa or at the spa can be arranged.

I could not get over how wonderful the island looked and how green and beautiful it was. Other than a few obvious observations (such as the fronds on the palm trees not being 100% back), you would never think a category 5 hurricane visited. The people of St. Barth have worked so hard and are so grateful to bring the island back to its splendor.

St. Barth has so many coiorful flowers.

Another activity that Aurelie and I tried was Janzu, with Body and Soul. We met Nanda at the far end of smaller side of St. Jean Beach. Janzu is a type of water massage; it is practiced in the pool or ocean (but your villa pool can’t be too deep). It induces a state of deep relaxation, allowing energy blockages to emerge. Nanda places a nose water clip and tells you to breath out of your mouth, she listens to your breathing and tells you to close your eyes. The session was not only relaxing and calming, it was very emotional at the end; both of us found ourselves moved to tears, in a good way. Thank you, Nanda at Body and Soul. I still feel your energy. For more details contact me at juliahurd@stbarth.com.

Nanda and I are on the quieter side of St. Jean beach for Allegra’s and my Jenzu experience.

Right after Hurricane Irma hit St. Barth, the citizens began cleaning the island of debris. Each weekend a different spot is chosen. Trash bags and gloves are provided. Allegra and I volunteered to pick up trash along the roads of Corossol on a Sunday morning along with our island office; we did a great job. The more hands the better.

Benoit, Aurélie, Laura, Alllegra and I went to Corossol to join in the cleanup on Trash Day.

I can’t get over how fast the week went by, it was great to see everyone and see how well the island is doing. I am thankful to all the wonderful people and places I visited while I was there. It is one amazing island. Thank you to everyone in St. Barth for making my work week so enjoyable, it is always sad to say goodbye. Thank you to my copilot Aurélie, you’re a great partner.

Aurélie bid us goodbye. We will be back very soon.

St. Barth Restaurant Scene – L’Esprit – Jean-Claude Dufour

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Continuing my St. Barth restaurant chronicle and recommendations, you must include at least one meal at L’Esprit during your St. Barts vacation. I just love it there. Let me tell you more about the very talented owner/chef.

CMJN de base

A handsome 6 feet 6 inches in height, Chef Jean-Claude Dufour has an even bigger reputation in the island’s culinary circles. And since the island I am talking about is St. Barth, the gastronomique capital of the Caribbean, well, that’s big indeed. Each time I walk in, I look over to the kitchen which is directly on your right and I see him concocting a right-from-scratch dish for one of his patrons.

Chef Jean-Claude Dufour at Villa GEM in Gouverneur

Chef Jean-Claude Dufour at Villa GEM in Gouverneur

Some background: Natives of the Bordeaux region of France, Jean-Claude’s family owned a catering business, so he developed a passion for cooking at a young age. He followed his passion, studying gastronomy and working under some of France’s renowned chefs as he came into his own. And then he came to St. Barth.

Over the years, his skill and reputation grew, and his dream was to have his own restaurant. In 2011, circumstances were such that that’s exactly what happened. Opening just before New Year’s the now-famous chef acquired the keys to what at one time was one of the island’s popular restaurants, L’Esprit. located in Saline. Jean-Claude donned his toque and quickly began putting his own stamp on things, which included creating a new open kitchen, reconfiguring the space, adding a bar area and crafting an amazing new menu. Included are lots of fresh local fish, interesting dishes with a pan-Asian twist and his signature seared foie gras. (My favorite appetizer is his Raviole de champignon, gambas plancha (Mushroom ravioli, shrimp cooked on a plancha) – Outstanding!

Raviole de champignon, gambas plancha

Raviole de champignon, gambas plancha

Tucked away in a tropical garden just “down the road” from gorgeous Saline Beach the restaurant offers a décor that is beach-club rustic chic. It seats 90 on the “see and be seen” palm tree-studded teak deck, which is delightfully shaded with canopied pergolas and at more private tables situated on the periphery. So it is really dreamy, especially on a moonlit night.

L'Esprit under the moonlight

L’Esprit under the moonlight

Jean-Claude prepping for today

Jean-Claude prepping for today

I often get my morning exercise by starting out at Saline Beach and walking right past it. Jean Claude is already busy with his prep and the aromas that emanate from there are out of this world. Frequently I will see Jean Claude jumping in his truck to go shopping for fresh fish and fresh ingredients.

Chef Jean Claude Dufour at the local fish market in Gustavia, Looks like the fish of the day will be Mahi Mahi

Chef Jean Claude Dufour at the local fish market in Gustavia, Looks like the fish of the day will be Mahi Mahi

L’Esprit is also ideal for a long leisurely pre- or post-beach lunch. We’ll vouch for the rosé being chilled to perfection. And there is L’Esprit to Go. During the week, with the exception of Wednesdays, the resto offers a selection of sandwiches and salads, water, soft drinks, wine and beer. They invite you to bring your empty cooler, and the ice is complimentary. Voilà! A beach picnic. I have been treated to his L’Esprit to Go several times while on a snorkeling trip to Colombier with Miguel, The Saint Barth Sailor. All that I can say is that each item was delectable.

Dining Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun
Lunch: Noon-3 pm; Dinner: Up to 10:30 pm
L’Esprit to Go: Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri

Guest Blog by St. Barth Properties Team Member Connie Walsh

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Bonjour! Many of you know that I went back to St. Barts with members of our US team. This is the time of year when we do our inspections and meet with our partners. Connie Walsh our Marketing and Travel Industry Consultant was also with me because this is the time when we begin to gather materials for our next Live Your Dream® catalogue. Here is Part One of Connie’s Guest Blog.

A Peek at the PF by Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

Connie Walsh

Our spring inspection trips to St. Barth encompass planning content for our annual publication Live Your Dream®. Internally, we call it the PF for short and we enjoy compiling it as much as we hope you enjoy reading it. Each year, we choose island residents who have pursued their passion to St. Barth – and are living their dream. It’s fascinating to talk with them and the interviews add a special perspective to the whirlwind of villa and hotel inspections. I love it!

St. Barth is well known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, so it was an honor to meet one of its most famous chefs, Jean-Claude Dufour. Late last year, he realized his dream of owning his own restaurant. The well known L’Esprit is now L’Esprit Jean-Claude Dufour and boasts a new open kitchen, a reconfiguration of its alfresco dining deck and a fabulous new menu. Our team really enjoyed our dinner there including J-C’s signature seared foie gras. Just up the road from Saline Beach, it’s perfect for a pre or post lunch stop.

Connie interviewing Jean-Claude Dufour and his wife Sonia at L'Esprit - Jean Claude Dufour

Connie interviewing Jean-Claude Dufour and his wife Sonia at L’Esprit – Jean Claude Dufour

If you’re looking to lunch “in town” (St. Jean’s Villa Creole) put Le Bistroy on your list. This unique venue artfully combines a gourmet deli and grocery boutique with a wine shop and a wine school. We caught the last of the sale days in Villa Creole’s boutiques and stopped in for lunch – charcuterie and chilled wine. This delightful little courtyard-style bistro complex is the dream of owner Jean-Baptiste Barre who made his bones in St. Barth’s culinary circles at restaurants like the François Plantation and Le Toiny.

La Charcuterie at Le Bistroy

La Charcuterie at Le Bistroy

We took the opportunity to get glammed up at Salon Fostokjian, which by the way, offers a picture-postcard view of St. Jean Bay. Owner Christophe Fostokjian is a skilled stylist and has developed his own line of organic products which we will feature in many of our villas. We slipped into I by Idalmi’s air-conditioned Make-up & Nail Bar late one afternoon for new shellac manis, sit-back-and-relax pedis and a talk with former model and owner Ida about her business and her luscious line of polishes named after the beaches of St. Barth.

Connie has a new do à la Christophe Fostokjian

Connie has a new do à la Christophe Fostokjian

Ida at I by Idalmi

Ida at I by Idalmi

For one of the interviews, I took to the sea for a snorkeling excursion with Plongée Caraïbes’ owner Thierry Balaska. His catamaran is the island’s largest and he moored it at Pain Sucre (Sugar Bread) where the waters were bath-water warm and crystal clear. While one of his crew was finishing up a scuba certification dive for a small group, I chatted with Thierry and learned how he decided to change his whole life by coming to St. Barth.

Thierry Balaska of Plongée Caraïbes

Thierry Balaska of Plongée Caraïbes

We look forward to sharing more of their stories in 17th edition which will be on the island in early November – and online. Don’t miss it!