Bretton Woods, New Hampshire – the hills are alive in this bucolic area coupled with the majestic Omni Mountain Washington Resort that houses some of the most delicious meals made by renowned chef, Jacky Francois. To this day after 38 years in America, Jacky speaks beautifully with his french accent that echoes with each word as he instructs his junior staff members.
According to Francois, “I have been here at the resort for 5 years and love to mentor new people, and don’t want the culinary trade to die. Training, showing and teaching is my passion.” Jacky has lived in the states for 38 years, and has 30 years experience as a chef. Growing up in the Northeast part of France (Vosges), Francois completed his culinary training at the esteemed Gerardmer Culinary School. After his schooling ended, he decided to come to the states and give it a try which resulted in a lot of success. Jacky’s father was a colonel in the French Army, and his mom was his cooking mentor teaching him to keep their meals simple yet tasty.
Francois tirelessly worked around the United States for years perfecting his skills and decided that the Omni Mount Washington Resort would be a great fit for him to showcase his cooking talents. “We source a lot of local food from New England with Massachusetts giving us our sea scallops and salmon. Our cheese is from Vermont, and our poultry and maple syrup is from New Hampshire,” said Francois.
The Omni Mountain Washington Resort houses 200 guests, and can feed hundreds of guests in a single day. But, executive chef Jacky Francois tackles this arduous task so effortlessly. His calm and quiet demeanor permeates throughout the resort while he works 70-80 hours per week and oversees 90 cooks and sous chefs. “I start everyday saying that it is going to be a great day. Working at this resort opens our brains since there are so many requests with changes and food allergies so the daily challenge is to see a smile on my guests faces, and train my staff to excellence,” said Francois.
As Chef Francois prepares so many meals, he keeps it simple by using cast iron pans, copper pans, sharp knives, and adding a slow cooker for stews. If you want to make a great sauce, you need a good stock which can take anywhere from 16-18 hours to make,” according to Francois. One of his favorite meals is beer can chicken or braised veal shank, short ribs with onions, carrots, potatoes and leaks.
As Jacky ends his day, he always favors this popular quote by America’s Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
By: Janice Elizabeth Berte