The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Yannick Fayolle

Five Finds on Friday: Yannick Fayolle


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Yannick Fayolle, the former Clifton Inn Executive Chef who now runs two food businesses: Blue Ridge Pizza Co., which he owns with his fiancée Nikki Benedikt, and also Fayolle’s Table, a catering service where Fayolle will bring a fine dining Chef’s Table experience to the comfort of your home. Fayolle’s picks:

1) Noodle Beef Soup at Monsoon Siam. “With the traditional Thai flavors, this has got to be one of my favorite soups. Light yet so flavorful. Top it with some of those amazing green chilis and this is one for the books.”

2) Pork from Mount Rouge Farm. “Can’t put into words how awesome this pork is! Josh Hatter feeds his animals with seasonal veggies, so tender and juicy. I love to smoke the butt roast in our wood fire oven to throw on top of some of our pizzas for Blue Ridge Pizza Co.”

3) Lamb Rogan Josh at Milan. “Only the best thing on the menu! The flavors bring me back to my island life in Mauritius. I really enjoy the blend of spices that complement the lamb . . . and the garlic naan. You can never go wrong with naan! Just an added bonus.”

4)  Prosciutto Pizza at Lampo. “Being in the pizza business myself, I love what these guys over at Lampo do! They have the science behind the dough and flavors down! This is a very classic Italian pizza whose flavors are very well balanced on a perfectly baked crust.”

5) Nitro Coffee at Shenandoah Joe. “Probably one of the greatest inventions of all time! The idea of coffee coming-out in the consistency as Guinness beer is probably the best thing every! I am one serious coffee fanatic. I must have my early morning fix of caffeine.”

Clifton Inn Names Fayolle Executive Chef


No restaurant in Charlottesville has a lineage of chefs quite like that of Clifton Inn, one of just sixty in the country to earn Relais & Chateaux status.  The men and women who have risen to Executive Chef at Charlottesville’s most decorated restaurant have gone on to do big things in Charlottesville and beyond, owning places like the C & O, Maya, Cakes by Rachel, Eljogaha, and The BBQ Exchange.  When Mitch Willey bought the property in the early 1980s to turn it into an inn, he could hardly have imagined that it would become such a breeding ground of great chefs.

Last week, another chef joined the lineage. “It’s extremely exciting for me,” says Yannick Fayolle, the new Executive Chef of Clifton Inn. “I’m very happy to be part of the Clifton history.”

While the transition of one Clifton chef to the next has often been seamless, barely noticed by guests, Fayolle does plan some changes.  A native of Mauritius, Fayolle expects more international flavors on the menu. “From my background in Mauritius, I have a different style,” says Fayolle, “drawing on African and Asian influences.” The spices, “bring joy and light to the plate,” says Fayolle, a culinary school graduate who has cooked at such diverse places as Dubai’s One and Only Royal Mirage, Geneva’s Grand Hotel Kempinski, and, right here in Charlottesville, Farmington Country Club.

Fayolle 1

Fayolle 2

But while Fayolle’s international influences may distinguish him from his predecessors in the kitchen, there is one way in which he stands out even more.  He is the most ripped.

Fayolle competes this weekend in his first ever body-building competition, the Blue Ridge Classic.  Held Saturday at the Paramount, it is a national qualifier, and Fayolle hopes to qualify.  Not short of confidence, in fact, Fayolle says he is in it to win it.


While body-building and cooking might seem a tough combination, Fayolle sees a natural fit.  Fayolle has always brought a healthy, farm-to-table approach to cooking.  When he was growing up, his father grew his own vegetables, which struck Fayolle as the only way.  Clifton Inn likewise has its own garden, and sources many of its ingredients from local farms. With a fitness fanatic taking over the kitchen, the inn touts a new “farm-to-nutrition-to-table” approach.

Still, life as a chef does bring challenges to body-building.  For one, long hours in the kitchen make it difficult for Fayolle to keep up his demanding workout schedule: two hours a day, six days a week.  Plus, Fayolle says, chefs must taste things all day long, and the frequent snacking can throw off metabolism. To cope with the nutritional challenges, Fayolle says it has been indispensable to have the help of his trainer and nutritionist, Trent Anderson of NuEnergy. “I couldn’t have done it without him,” says Fayolle.

Fayolle first joined Clifton earlier this year as sous chef.  Now that he has become Executive Chef, guests can expect a new menu soon.  Stay tuned.

%d bloggers like this: