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Poles Apart
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Bernard Philippe was born and grew-up in Liege (Belgium), alongside his other studies, he studied cookery at the Ecole Hôtelière de Liège.  Then he spent a valuable year working in Jersey, obtaining all-round industry experience, once back in Belgium, he took the opportunity to expand his horizons and studied International Business.

Meanwhile Bernard’s parents had moved to the warmer and more peaceful SW of France where he then began to holiday.  He soon fell in love with the region and particularly, the wonderful light that so often floods the Lot landscape. After a few more holidays, and much thought, he left Belgium again, this time for France and a chance to return to his first great-love - cooking.  

A17th century farm, close to the village of Mauroux, was to be the location for this new venture, a lovely setting but one in need of huge amounts of renovation (thirty years later and as we all know with these buildings – it never ends).  In 1979, after the first round of work, and helped by his parents, Bernard opened his restaurant ‘Le Vert’. Then, over-time, 6 bedrooms were opened and ‘Le Vert’ became a 3* hotel.

Maybe it was the famous regional friendliness that helped Bernard charm his wife, Eva, into staying here and not returning to her native Germany.  The pair had met whilst she was working as an ‘au pair’ nearby.  She stayed and now Bernard and Eva warmly welcome people from mid-April to the beginning of November into their hotel to stay and into their restaurant to dine. 

Bernard’s passion for food has meant that he’s continued to study under Dominique Toulousy the well-known 2* Chef from Toulouse who’s owned the renowned restaurant ‘Jardins de l'Opéra’ for over 20 years.  Furthermore, always keen to learn Bernard has also been training, for 10 years, to assist people in need of psychotherapy for dietary/food related issues.

‘Le Vert’ has the atmosphere of a private-house hotel with a gentle grace but also with the advantages of essentials such as a heated swimming pool, air-conditioning and wifi.  Locally, the restaurant is known for its musical, piano-bar evenings; indeed during the summer, there are fortnightly masterclasses from international pianists.

Bernard is an instinctive cook and offer menus that changes to reflect the local, seasonal foods. Many vegetables are sourced from 'Paysbio' in nearby Lacapelle Cabanac and the cellar is stocked with wines from the neighbouring vineyards around Puy L'Eveque and Cahors.

Hostellerie Le Vert, 46700 Mauroux, 05 65 36 51 36, info@hotellevert.com, www.hotellevert.com

For our readers Bernard suggests a recipe that will really let cook like a chef!

Green Asparagus Foam with Morels and Crunchy Asparagus Sticks

Serves 4 people

200 g morels (mushrooms), 1 Shallot, 400 g green asparagus, 400 g fresh whipping cream, Salt and pepper, 1 egg white, 30 g butter, 4 leaves of brick pastry (A thin Tunisian pastry found in the supermarket)

Equipment - 1 whipping siphon


Cooking the Morels:

  • Melt 20g of butter in a saucepan on mid-heat.
  • Add finely chopped shallot, then the morels with 100g fresh cream, salt and pepper.
  • Cook on low heat.
  • Place in the bottom of the serving glasses.

Preparation of Asparagus sticks:

  • Cut 4 Asparagus stalks in half.
  • Fry in a pan with some butter and salt, leave them crunchy
  • Roll each half asparagus in half a pastry sheet, previously brushed with egg white
  • Butter the rolled up asparagus and cook for 10 min at 180°C – taking care to turn them.

Asparagus Foam:

  • Cook and peel the rest of the asparagus, remove the tops and leave for decorating.
  • Chop the asparagus and add to 300g of fresh whipping cream, blend, taste and season.
  • Sieve and place the liquid in the whipping siphon, shake and fill up the serving glasses with the morels in the bottom.

If you don't have a whipping siphon you can change this recipe into an asparagus and morel cream.

Don't forget to serve with the crunchy asparagus sticks!


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