Executive Chef Stéphane Beaucamp Brings French Finesse and a Healthy Lifestyle to the Kitchens at Lake Austin Spa Resort
AUSTIN, TX…How do you get to Lake Austin Spa Resort? In the case of executive chef Stéphane Beaucamp, the road passed through Normandy, Paris, and Los Angeles, with Nicole Kidman’s birthday party and a bash for Elton John along the way.
After attending the Belliard culinary school in Paris, Chef Beaucamp apprenticed in the traditionally run kitchens at the city’s elegant Hôtel Plaza-Athénée. He had his first experience of health-conscious cookery at the famous spa of Enghien-les-Bains, just outside Paris, and then did a stint at the Hôtel le Trianon in Versailles.
Chef Beaucamp might have continued pursuing a classical French chef’s itinerary if he hadn’t next found a berth cooking eclectic contemporary food at the trendy Parisian restaurant and club called Barfly, where he worked his way up to executive chef. That led to a tour at the equally trendy Buddha Bar, working under Kazuto Matsusaka — a veteran of Spago in Los Angeles and one of the first chefs at Wolfgang Puck’s seminal Chinois on Main, an influential pioneer of Asian fusion cooking.
He became executive chef and pastry chef at a newly opened celebrity hangout called Vermont. Here, the good-looking Frenchman got to know such celebrities as Charlize Theron, Renee Zellweger, Tim Curry, Adrian Brody, and Nicole Kidman — who asked him to cater her birthday party one year.
As he became better and better known, Chef Beaucamp started to feel the pressure. He had a long drive to work and put in long hours. “When you cook for Elton John, for 780 people,” he says, “it’s a lot of stress.” He started thinking about moving someplace else, someplace where he could spend more time cooking and less time traveling.
“When I went down to visit Austin, believe it or not, the area reminded me of France a little, the trees, the wonderful smells in the air, the friendly people,” recalls Beaucamp.
Meeting Terry Conlan, the longtime chef at Lake Austin Spa Resort, who had decided to retire, made up Chef Beaucamp’s mind. “Our family lives a simple, eco-friendly, organic lifestyle,” he says, “and I realized that what Terry had been doing was exactly what I wanted to do. In the past, the way I lived and the way I cooked were different. This was a chance to bring them together.” He’s happy now, he says — and so are the diners enjoying the clean, fresh, sensible, flavorful, but not “diet” food he cooks.
Chef Stéphane Beaucamp’s Recipes: