François Lavergne: A Champagne Life
Umami expert, a founder of Le Cordon Bleu: Tokyo, founder of the “Wine Boom”, Champagne House owner and loving husband are just a few of the titles on François Lavergne’s ever expanding resume.
Mr. Lavergne has accomplished a lot in his extensive career.
- Participated in the inspirational first dinners with MONDAVI, Rothschild and Antinori
- Launched the second Park Hyatt Worldwide in Japan, (the same one featured in the Lost in Translation film), with Chef Rainer Becker
- Watching the Queen Elisabeth sail into the Sydney Harbour with the Royal Viking Line
- The 100 years of the Alliance Francaise
- Living in Tokyo and Osaka. Cities he described as, “A new world, quite crazy but very inventive. Inventive to survive.”
A more humorous moment in his career was watching the President of Cannes Film Festival dance on the tables in the small, but very talented, Le Cordon Bleu. It also happens to be the same time that he met his lovely wife.
Life in Japan began when François was initially relocating to Chile to help Lafite Rothschild launch their vineyards. Plans changed at the last minute and he had to quickly find a job… Le Cordon Bleu in Tokyo welcomed his expertise with open arms. He jumped into his new career in the new country without knowing a lot about the new position and nothing about the Japanese culture.
It wasn’t long before François was in full swing with Le Cordon Bleu, Tokyo. The first joint-venture with Seibu Group was losing money… and fast. François and his team took over and relaunched the program with zeal. He was the ‘think tank’ of the relaunch and had enormous success. In a culture where festivals throughout Asia, the Dream of Sabrina books, Film Festivals and links with fashion were all the rage, François Lavergne launched food into the spotlight showing Cuisine is glamorous, not just a skill.
During his years in Japan, François discovered a new found passion for Umami. Already a lifelong lover for food and connoisseur of authentic flavors, his culinary desires are firmly rooted in childhood experiences influenced by his parents and time spent at his grandfather’s farm. Even at 4 months old, François’s palate enjoyed the depth of flavor that Sea Urchin yields. Life in Tokyo and Osaka only heightened his culinary passions and he soon grew from a student of Umami to a master. He launched the first Umami events in Japan alongside Tim Hanni, first American Master of Wine and the Umami authority.
Educating people on the joys of wine was another endeavor close to François’s heart. He began teaching the intricacies of tasting red wine to people that were not enjoying or understanding the methods of tasting and pairing. At the end of his course, individuals would walk away with a deep knowledge and understanding of all terroirs and grand cru. Soon there was a “Wine Boom” in Japan. Today the culture is embracing wine consumption as a thriving social lifestyle, while still holding true to cultural traditions.
Francois started his connoisseur education at the young age of 15. After five years of engineering in agricultural studies, he progressed to viticulture in Burgundy and finally completed his education with oenology and began a career in the United States in 1991.
One thing François learned as a sommelier is, ‘You must like people. They are here to share a moment and discover. If you can enjoy and moreover learn something, your social health is going up”.
If you prefer enjoying wine peacefully at home, there are no tips and tricks that will outweigh the simplicity of enjoyment.
Enjoy your wine as if it was a food. Food you like.
During a launch of Japanese Sake in India with Manotsuru from Sado-shima and its cousin Minotsuru from Fukuyama, François was contacted and offered a chance to begin working with champagne. He accepted and spent more than five years breaking into a closely guarded culture of fine wine and champagne experts.
Today François travels between Paris, Champagne and London where he is an international food and drink consultant, Sommelier trainer and a premium Champagne House owner. You will find four cuvées in his House: Brut Rose, Brut Light, Rose Classic and Rose Light. Recently, François and his partner, Lisa Delcambre collaborated with the talented Cellar Master Olivier Huot to create the “Monsieur de France” Cuvées. In this elegant champagne the trio captured the purity, clarity and depth of an authentic Champagne using a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot noir and a Pinot Meunier.