Maison Ruffet is reborn in Villa Navarre to win the star

“You haven’t changed,” exclaims the guest when she sees chef Stéphane Carrade. It’s a comeback…

“You haven’t changed,” exclaims the guest when she sees chef Stéphane Carrade. It’s a homecoming for Bigourdan, who entertained at Maison Ruffet – then based in Jurançon – until it closed in 2012. At the time, it had two stars in the Michelin guide. The chef then headed to the Gironde, where he is now head chef at the two-star Skiff Club du Pyla.

“Every time I hear people ask me: why don’t you have a restaurant with a star in Pau,” testified Mayor François Bayrou after dinner. I hope that you will correct this anomaly, this historical mistake,” prays the first aedile.

The last star in the Michelin guide, set in Béarn, was Eric Dequin, at Auberge Labarthe de Bosdarros. Chef closed in 2017 to focus on catering.

A leader “who does not cheat”

At Maison Ruffet, it’s actually the duo that’s in the kitchen. Since Christophe Canati will be responsible for the operation of the machine on a daily basis. The latter is not unknown in Pau. He was a restaurant chef at the Hotel Le Parc Beaumont.

“We work together on the menus, explains Stéphane Carrade. I come every week.” His philosophy? “It’s progressive terroir, regional and seasonal produce if possible,” continues the 54-year-old chef.

For dinner, he serves chicken in a pot… as an appetizer! The classics of Béarn cuisine have been reimagined. Corn bean has molds for companions. Veal sweets mixed with Tournesol Pays ketchup and eggplant caviar with raw cooked porcini mushrooms. The rest is not left out either, with tarragon surprising the palate at the end of the dessert.

Among the desserts served on Thursday: Reine des Reinettes poached from 10 a.m., marigold and pine nuts.


“It’s a nod to Béarnaise,” deciphers Cyrille Biraben about the aromatic plant. The foie gras producer is invincible on the path of Stéphane Carrade. It describes a smiling, sometimes mischievous chef who “doesn’t cheat”.

“There is a tradition of cooking in Béarn, with the Camdebordes or the Cazaux,” recalls Cyrille Biraben. I’m also thinking of David Ducasso. There are still very good presenters. Young people who work with their own means. But Stéphane Carrade and Christophe Canati will strengthen them here. »

Chef trainer

In order to get a star, the decoration of the restaurant was rearranged. It is signed by Roland Estellat. “It is a significant total investment, both human and financial,” admits Stéphane Carrade, who does not want to disclose the amount. Maison Ruffet has three partners: Stéphane Carrade and Stéphane Carella, co-owner of Villa Navarre. As for the third, a mystery.

“He doesn’t want to show up,” says Sébastien Ripari. This is the second character of the Maison Ruffet adventure in Pau. This chatty Parisian often presents himself as the one whispering in chefs’ ear in search of the stars.

From left to right: Stéphane Carrade, Christophe Canati and Stéphane Carella.

From left to right: Stéphane Carrade, Christophe Canati and Stéphane Carella.

Thibault Seurin

“I’m like a super customer, picky and boring,” sums up Sébastien Ripari on the fly. I am the taster, giving them critical and explanatory feedback. But I intervene in all aspects of the activity, from room service to communication.” He is the head of the Institute for Gastronomic Studies. Sébastien Ripari also activates his nets. “I deal with lobbying,” claims the consultant.

But Maison Ruffet will also benefit from Stéphane Carella’s address book. On Thursday evening, September 15, the singer Kendji Girac passed by the restaurant after his concert at the Fair. We can bet this won’t be the last celebrity to stop by Maison Ruffet. Stars as power-ups to get a star? If it sparkles in March 2023, it will surely taste like tarragon.

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